Conor McGregor’s longtime trainer believes the UFC champion will return to the Octagon before year’s end — even with a lucrative boxing match against Floyd Mayweather on the horizon.
The SBG Ireland representative’s last promotional appearance occurred at UFC 205 in November, when he stopped Eddie Alvarez in the second round to claim the 155-pound title. With “The Notorious” one lined up for the biggest payday of his combat sports career, there has been plenty of speculation regarding whether McGregor would even feel the need to return to the Octagon when the Mayweather fight concludes.
“Many of the questions I’ve been receiving over the past week have focused on when Conor will fight in the UFC again. My expectation is that it will happen this year, although it’s always difficult to predict what Conor is going to do next,” John Kavanagh recently wrote on the42.ie.
“If he goes in there and knocks out Mayweather in the first round, there will probably be talk of rematches and stuff like that. But the tentative plan, as I see it, is certainly for a fight in the UFC in December. But in the meantime we’re completely focused on boxing and Floyd Mayweather.”
After months of discussion, the boxing superfight between McGregor and Mayweather was finalized last week. The two superstars will square off wearing 10-ounce gloves in a 12-round bout at the T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 26. McGregor has no professional boxing experience of any kind, and he will be facing a man with a 49-0 record who is regarded as one of the sport’s all-time greats.
Kavanagh believes that this could actually work in McGregor’s favor.
“I believe we have a number of advantages going into this fight. Often, people who are experts in a certain field will tell you that it can actually be more awkward to deal with somebody who’s not from the same field,” he wrote. “They’d rather deal with the top contender from their own discipline because he’ll move in a way that you assume he’ll move.
Mayweather has been in the boxing world for his entire career and everyone he’s faced has moved in a certain way that he’s pre-conditioned to handle. Now he’s going up against a guy who doesn’t follow any set patterns, who can deploy a variety of different styles of fighting and is not one bit intimidated,” Kavanagh continued. “Conor is — as we all are here — 100 percent confident in victory. That kind of person is very difficult to deal with.”
Kavanagh points out that McGregor has made a habit of dreaming big and then delivering during his UFC career. If the Irishman were to somehow topple Mayweather later this summer, he would be continuing that trend on an even grander scale.
“When we went to Sweden for Conor’s UFC debut in 2013, if we had said then that he is going to be a champion simultaneously in two UFC divisions in three years’ time, people may have seen that as a less realistic goal than fighting Floyd Mayweather one day. Yet here we are,” Kavanagh wrote. “The fact that he has constantly been written off is never going to change. Conor could beat Mayweather and people will say: ‘Yeah, but he hasn’t fought Manny Pacquaio yet.’
“There’s a running theme with his career where firstly an idea will seem ridiculous, secondly it’s eventually accepted, and then finally people will come up with a new challenge which apparently he’ll never be able to overcome. We’re used to it now and that’s fine with us….We’re looking forward to shocking the world — again.”