John Kavanagh may have stressed his belief that Conor McGregor’s time away from the octagon would be no problem ahead of his UFC 229, but now, having seen the bout, he admits that it probably was.
A lot of factors went into Khabib Nurmagomedov’s fantastic UFC 229 win over Conor McGregor and according to John Kavanagh, ring-rust was one of the ones that he perhaps underestimated to a certain extent.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on ESPN, the famed coach had this to say:
“When his time land was there, and we did have opportunities, it wasn’t there in the way it was in the Eddie [Alvarez] fight, for example. The Eddie fight was off of a big training camp for the Diaz II fight, which was off of a big training camp for Diaz I.
“So he didn’t have a lot of cage time. This one, as I said was almost two years out. I said that I didn’t think ring-rust would play a part, but, I have to be honest – when I look at it now, when I replay it in my head, I do feel that it played a little bit of a part.
“He didn’t quite get his shots off the way he normally would. Defensively, I thought he did quite well, defending a lot of the takedowns – especially in round three.
“But, Khabib is amazing.”
With Nurmagomedov’s record now standing at a perfect 27-0, whispers of a rematch between both men have been in circulation but as someone who has witnessed McGregor fighting frequently during his rise, I think it’s fair to say that going straight back in there with Khabib isn’t the route I’d like to see him take.
I’m not saying that winning an immediate rematch is beyond him, but I do believe that it would benefit Conor if he were to recapture his rhythm with a tune-up of sorts.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena