Speculation about former UFC champion Conor McGregor’s return continues to be one of the most discussed topics in all of mixed martial arts (MMA).
‘The Notorious’ has been out of action since his fourth-round submission loss to rival Khabib Nurmagomedov at October’s UFC 229. Of course, he was then suspended for the post-fight brawl that followed that loss. Now free and clear of that ban, McGregor has now been embroiled in several other outside-the-cage controversies.
Those issues don’t seem to be getting ‘The Notorious’ down, however. In the time since his loss to Khabib, his Proper Twelve Irish Whiskey brand has soared to incredible success. It’s even boosted Irish Whiskey sales to record numbers in the United States. But the more hardcore fight fans aren’t necessarily concerned about all of that.
They are much more interested in when McGregor will return to the cage – or if he ever will. Much of the uncertainty may stem from McGregor’s latest social media ‘retirement’ earlier this month, which he seemed to walk back. It seems like he’ll fight again, but whether or not fight fans see the motivated version of McGregor is very much in question.
His Coach’s Take
A man with at least some knowledge of the situation recently spoke up about McGregor. His longtime head coach John Kavanagh appeared on Ireland’s ‘The Late Late Show’ (via Express) to discuss McGregor’s retirement and pending return. Kavanagh was uncertain when or if he would come back.
He did admit that McGregor winning two UFC titles was a ‘coach’s nightmare’ because he had accomplished all his goals. It was difficult for McGregor to keep training for a pro fight after that, he claimed:
“You know as much as I do. It’s funny, when he won the second world title, as a coach it’s almost like a nightmare because he achieved everything he set out to do; he won the world titles, he broke every meaningful record in the UFC, he made enough money to retire a few times over.
“Training MMA for fitness or recreation is fun, but training for professional fighting is very tough, it’s very tough on the body. You’re losing all the desire to do those things because it’s either about winning titles or making money, he done those, so what was going to keep motivating him, to keep putting him through that grind?”
Fair enough, but to claim McGregor had every meaningful UFC record is a stretch. He never even defended a single title. McGregor was also stripped of both the featherweight and lightweight belts for failing to defend them. So perhaps decorated former champions like Demetrious Johnson and Anderson Silva would have something to say about that claim. McGregor does no doubt have some solid records on his resumé, but far from every important one.
Kavanagh moved on to detail how often he had spoken to or seen McGregor recently. He claimed he hadn’t seen his star pupil for months, further fueling rumors of discord between the two:
“There had been a couple of texts exchanged back and forth and I’m hoping to sit down next week and see what the plan is.
“[It had been] months [since I saw him]. “He had been in Miami taking a break but also training. Physically, I hadn’t seen him in quite a while.”
Rekindled Passion For Fighting
Finally, Kavanagh had an update of what he thought McGregor’s fighting status was. He believes the Irish superstar has seen a resurgence in his passion for fighting. Because of that, he will potentially return to MMA once the right match-up presents itself:
“I think there has been a resurgence in his passion and his love and I think if the right contest comes along, something that’s very interesting to him, a good challenge, something that will get the crowd going. I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t fight again…as soon as…it could even be the summer.”