Even if Conor McGregor isn’t able to fill in for Tony Ferguson or Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 249, it sounds like the former two-division champion will return to the Octagon in the next few months.
Speaking with ESPN, SBG Ireland head trainer John Kavanagh laid out a tentative plan for McGregor following the fighter’s 40-second technical knockout of Donald Cerrone at UFC 246.
“I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t going to compete before the summer…definitely going to be competing before the summer,” Kavanagh said. “What I think is we get ready, prepare for the April fight. If one of those guys [Nurmagomedov or Ferguson] is unfortunate enough not to be able to make the walk then we’re ready to go.
“If the guys make it, schedule one within a few weeks of that April fight. Then you’re kind of on the same timeline as those guys for a fight a couple months after that.”
If McGregor is unable to fill in at UFC 249, Kavanagh has an opponent in mind — but the bout would again take place at welterweight rather than lightweight.
“Justin Gaethje at 170, that would be my personal preference,” he said. “Because he’s another lightweight, but neither of them have to cut weight. The kind of vision is getting that 155 pound belt back, so it’s a step towards that.”
Kavanagh admits that the final decision is not up to him, however. A showdown with BMF champion Jorge Masvidal could also be in play. Regardless, it could be interesting to see how the next few months shape up for the “Notorious” Irishman.
“And who knows, it could be [Masvidal[. If you’re asking my opinion and my desire, that [Gaethje] would be it,” Kavanagh said. “That would be [manager Audie Attar] and Conor and the UFC that make those decisions.”