The chances of Conor McGregor returning to the Octagon by the close of 2017 are slim, according to longtime trainer John Kavanagh.
“It’s probably a little late in the day to realistically expect another fight before the end of the year, because even after this hiatus is over, a lot goes into the planning and execution of a training camp at our level,” Kavanagh wrote in a column for the42.ie. “I find it hard to envisage another fight in 2017.”
McGregor’s lone combat sports appearance of the year was the heavily hyped boxing showdown with Floyd Mayweather on Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Dublin native, who entered the contest with no professional boxing experience, fell to Mayweather via technical knockout in the 10th round. He is expected to make more than $100 million dollars for the fight, easily surpassing his career best earnings for any one UFC bout.
The SBG Ireland representative hasn’t competed in the Octagon since UFC 205 last November, when he stopped Eddie Alvarez in the second round at Madison Square Garden to briefly become the promotion’s first ever simultaneous, two-division champion. A trilogy bout against Nate Diaz could make sense next, Kavanagh says, but for now everyone on the McGregor team is unwinding from all that was involved with making the Mayweather fight a reality.
“As for what’s next, we’re currently taking a bit of down time after a fairly exhausting few months. Conor is in Ibiza for a friend’s wedding, I’m in Florida with my fiancée Orlagh and we haven’t looked too far beyond that,” Kavanagh wrote. “I’ve said for a long time that the Nate Diaz trilogy fight at lightweight is what I’d personally like to see next. That still needs to be put to bed.”
However, that would mean that McGregor would not defend the lightweight crown he won by defeating Alvarez anytime soon. Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee are scheduled to vie for the interim 155-pound strap at UFC 216 on Oct. 7. According to Kavanagh, the idea of having McGregor face the winner of that fight doesn’t really move the needle.
“Even though Conor is the champion, I know there’s an interim lightweight title fight coming up between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee. To be completely honest, I didn’t actually know who Kevin was until very recently,” Kavanagh wrote. “Tony is a solid fighter but he doesn’t have the kind of appeal that would get your blood racing, particularly in the context of coming from the excitement of the Nate Diaz rematch, the historical significance of beating Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Garden, and the novelty of facing the greatest boxer of his generation.
“This is all accompanied by the caveat that it’s merely the opinion of John Kavanagh, but I’m sure people will be able to relate to my perspective on the situation. In the meantime, we’re just going to switch off, let our minds settle and we’ll make a decision on the next step when the time is right.”