If and when Conor McGregor returns to the Octagon, fans can expect a more polished striker than the one who took the lightweight title from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.
That’s according to SGB Ireland coach John Kavanagh, who says that the “Notorious” one benefitted immensely from the centralized work he did in preparation for his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather on Aug. 26.
“When would an MMA guy have a chance to take six months just to focus on one aspect of MMA? Never is the answer, they’re always trying to work on everything,” Kavanagh told the Daily Star. “But when he does return to the Octagon, his hands are going to be a lot better than what they were. And I’m excited to see that."
There have been rumors that McGregor would return to the UFC for a lightweight championship unification bout against interim titlist Tony Ferguson, but the Dublin native seems to be seeking a partnership or promoter’s role with the UFC before that can happen. While UFC President Dana White previously claimed that McGregor would return by the end of 2017, that no longer appears likely at this point.
Regardless, Kavanagh says that McGregor is back to focusing on other aspects of combat besides his boxing.
“You know, I was rolling with him two weeks ago and I was wondering how his jiu-jitsu would be. And I was very annoyed that he took my back and choked me,” Kavanagh said. “So he hasn’t lost too much there. Of course, he has to tighten up there before he goes to fight in the Octagon again. But he really does love grappling.”
Kavanagh also says that McGregor’s passion for MMA never waned, even as he was preparing to face Mayweather this past summer. That would seem to bode well for an eventual UFC return.
“Even in the lead up to the Mayweather fight, he would still kind of ask you about wrestling or jiu-jitsu,” Kavanagh said. “And he’d say, ‘Hey, look at this.’ I know it’s in his head all the time although he wasn’t physically training it. I know mentally he’s still thinking about it.”