Just days after his pupil’s major win over rival Nate Diaz at UFC 202, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor’s head-coach John Kavanagh joined The MMA Hour today (August 22, 2016) to discuss the future plans for ‘The Notorious One’.
When asked if the featherweight champion would compete at welterweight again, Kavanagh was quick to dismiss a return to 170 pounds and instead eyed a new home for McGregor in the UFC’s lightweight division:
“The hell with that (chuckles). When Dana came backstage the first thing he said is ‘we have weight classes for a reason’. He’s perfect for 55. It’s a very, very easy weight cut for 55.
His power is there, we got to see a little bit of grappling in that fight, still not seen it all yet there is still a lot more to come. I would have liked to see them on the ground more in the fight, I guess just for my selfish self, because we done a lot and of course Dillon was a great help with that.
So I would have liked to see some exchanges there. But overall I’ll give em a 9.5.”
When asked on his personal opinion for what is next for the Irish phenom Kavanagh admits he leaves the decision making process up to his student, however, he will be campaigning for a shot at the 155-pound throne:
“Me personally, I will be pushing for 55. That’s just my big brother opinion, I’d like to see him at 55 I remember that Buchinger–he looked like a tank to me. I just think he was designed to be a lightweight.”
UFC President Dana White has recently gone on record stating that if McGregor fails to return to 145 to defend his title in his next bout, he will be stripped of the title as a result.
Kavanagh says he doesn’t see the point in returning to the 145-pound weight class, as he does not believe any of it’s combatants can truly challenge his protege:
“I really don’t see the point in it, with all do respect to the 145 guys, especially after that fight with Nate. What are they going to do? What’s anyone going to do to him? I just think anyone he faces at that weight class–it’s almost like he’s cheating.
“He can make the weight, don’t get me wrong on that, he might do it just to spite me. We have Lockhart on board, the 45 he made last December was the easiest one he’s ever done, so it’s definitely in him to do it. But he’s just running through people at that weight class, it would have been a nice build up–I had a little vision in my head, him and Edgar in New York maybe in November.
“Unfortunately those guys didn’t keep up they’re end of the bargain. They had to go out there and prove that they deserved it, prove that they had improved, and go out there and beat Aldo and they didn’t.
“The fight was even more one-sided that their first contest. I guess Aldo had learned from the last time.”
If McGregor does decide to make the move to lightweight next, Kavanagh would rather see ‘Notorious’ challenge for the division’s title rather than an immediate trilogy bout with Diaz, possibly setting up a massive 155-pound title defense in Dublin against the Stockton Native:
“I’d think it would be nice for him to be the champion, get the belt at 55, and then defend it against Nate. I think that would be a pretty amazing fight, maybe in Croke Park in Dublin. I’ll push for that, how cool would that be huh? We were in they’re enemy territory so let them come over to us this time.”
With UFC 205 live from Madison Square Garden in New York City looming this upcoming November, Kavanagh is confident McGregor would be prepared to fight on the massive event just three months after the conclusion of his 25-minute war with Diaz, but does believe it is a bit too soon as well:
“He could definitely do it,” Kavanagh said. “It is soon, Conor has so much going on in his life. With his many many businesses that he’s running at this stage, I know he puts a lot of them on hold for that last–everything has been on hold for the last 20 weeks.
“So I know he has a lot of catching up to do in his other interests, so it probably is too early. Although he does other businesses, I know what his interest really is in and it’s fighting.
“If there is a crazy offer and it made sense, he would again put them on hold and get ready for it. But it probably is a little bit soon.”
Following UFC 202 during his post-fight presser McGregor claimed that ‘sh** will hit the fan’ regarding what is next for his combat career, and Kavanagh noted that nothing is set in stone but as for now it is best to just ‘sit back and exhale’ before making any decisions:
“I can tell you that nothing is set in stone. There is no black and white ‘this is set, and then we’ll do this, and then this’. I think Floyd Tweeted ‘lets do business’ after the fight so there’s that. He has a lot going on, he has a busy busy head on him.
“That’s why I think the next couple of weeks he probably has to put some time and effort into his other interest and let everything build up. That fight–I sear I have a little bit more grey hairs from that 25-minutes.
“I think as a community we all need to take a deep breathe and exhale, and let everything carry on for the next couple of months, because that was a really incredible build up and to go straight from that to Alvarez or whoever– I don’t know it just seems rushed or something. Lets sit back and exhale,” Kavanagh said.
You can check out Kavanagh on the MMA Hour here: