Trainer John Kavanagh: ‘My Selfish No. 1’ is for Conor McGregor to Fight MMA

By Tristen Critchfield Mar 2, 2017

These days, one cannot discuss Conor McGregor without the possibility of a boxing superfight against Floyd Mayweather.

John Kavanagh, McGregor’s head trainer at SBG Ireland, is well aware of the conversations that have occurred over the past few months. However, his personal preference is that the UFC lightweight champion stick to mixed martial arts. While he recognizes that isn’t likely to happen, there are plenty of opponents in the UFC that interest the coach (online betting).

“My number one thing would be for Conor to fight MMA. That’s my number one thing. That’s my selfish No. 1, what I would like to see. Which opponent? I’ve said it before – the Nate [Diaz] rematch interests me a lot because it’s 1-1 and how the styles match up. Almost on a par with that, not much difference, will be the winner of Khabib [Nurmagomedov] and [Tony] Ferguson this weekend. I think Khabib does it, so I think Khabib will be the winner. So Khabib will be the match up out of that,” Kavanagh recently told Submission Radio. “Below that would be [Georges St-Pierre]. Purely because GSP was an incredible fighter. [I’m a] big fan of him, I’ve learned a lot from watching his fights, but it’s a long time since he’s fought and the game changes very, very quickly and I think Khabib is sort of like a better version of GSP. Although we don’t know, it’s hard to tell how GSP and Khabib would match up. But yeah, MMA-wise, Nate or almost on a par winner of Khabib/Ferguson.”

Nurmagomedov and Ferguson will square off for the interim lightweight crown at UFC 209 in Las Vegas on Saturday. Meanwhile, McGregor, who claimed the undisputed 155-pound belt with a victory over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November, will be sidelined indefinitely as he awaits the birth of his first child and presumably continues to pursue the fight with Mayweather. Still Kavanagh doesn’t expect the Nurmagomedov-Ferguson winner to be stuck in limbo as interim champion.

“I find it hard to imagine not seeing that…If and when the Mayweather fight was to happen and he got that out of the way, I know, like myself, I do believe his true love is free combat sports and there is no freer combat sport than mixed martial arts and he is the UFC lightweight champion, “Kavanagh said. “He did only win it a couple of months ago, so he is the lightweight champion. So I can’t imagine him not fighting the winner of [Nurmagomedov-Ferguson]. We gotta see what happens with the Mayweather talks and all that, but yeah I do believe that will happen, yes.”

Meanwhile, rumors that McGregor vs. Mayweather is closer to becoming a done deal continue to persist. While Kavanagh doesn’t have anything concrete to report, he does believe “The Notorious” one will eventually square off against the currently retired boxing star.

“I can’t answer that because I’m not privy to all that’s going on,” Kavanagh said. “It seems like it’s coming. When or how definite, I don’t know, but it’s looking more likely. And the two guys seem to want it and they’re making moves towards it, but I won’t lie, I don’t know is the short answer. There seems to be a lot of steps to get over with various commissions involved and different promotions involved and so on and so forth, but it’s a fight that’s getting more and more momentum every day and more and more people want to see it. So if you ask just me, my personal uneducated opinion on it, I would say that I believe it’s gonna happen.”


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