John Kavanagh explains what factored into Conor McGregor’s latest loss and the adjustments he would make if they got a rematch.
McGregor lost to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in the headliner of last week’s UFC 229 from Las Vegas, Nevada. McGregor’s coach spoke with Ariel Helwani of ESPN about what he would do differently should they book a rematch.
”If I could go back, maybe the mentality was a little too defensive,” Kavanagh said (H/T to MMAMania). “Conor’s a very offensive fighter and when his time to land was there – and we did have opportunities – it wasn’t there the way it was in the Eddie [Alvarez] fight, for example. The Eddie fight was off a big training camp for Diaz 2, which was off a big training camp for Diaz 1. So we had a lot of cage time.”
He continued by stating that coming into this fight, he didn’t think ring rust would play a factor but it did.
”This one, like you said, it’s almost two years out. I said I didn’t think ring rust would play a part, but I have to be honest, when I look at it now, when I replay it in my head, I do feel like it played a little bit of a part.”
What Went Right
The head coach brought up how McGregor didn’t quite get his shots off but thought that his takedown defense was on par.
“He didn’t quite get his shots off like he normally would. I thought defensively he did quite well defending a lot of takedowns, especially in round 3. But Khabib is amazing, amazingly effective MMA fighter. His style is suffocating, it’s relentless, and he does it better than anyone else.”
Kavanagh believes that they won the third round and wants to spend more time on offense.
”In round 3 that we won, the shots that Conor were landing didn’t quite have the sting that they normally would, he wasn’t able to do things how he normally would,” Kavanagh concluded. “So yeah, if we could turn back time, I would have liked to spend more time on offense and capitalizing on those scenarios when they presented themselves, which they did.”
Kavanagh wouldn’t say whether he thinks that McGregor would agree with his take on the mistakes in this fight. But understands that McGregor is focused on his pro-MMA career despite outside distractions.
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”That’s what’s made him who he is, he is able to juggle things like that,” he said. “It’s just been part of his journey the whole way through that we’re always vying for his attention between his other interests. But he is very focused.”