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Coach John Kavanagh Discusses Conor McGregor’s Future At Featherweight

Conor McGregor’s fight with Nate Diaz at UFC 202 is a matter of pride. Beyond that, it may be a matter of gold.

Having been crowned the UFC featherweight champion in December, Conor McGregor has had no inclination of defending the belt as of yet. ‘The Notorious’ pursued the lightweight title, before that opportunity against Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 196 fell through due to an injury to the latter.

Now embroiled in a fierce rivalry with Nate Diaz at welterweight, McGregor may well wait until UFC 205 in November at Madison Square Garden to defend his gold, if he does at all.

UFC 189: Mendes v McGregor

While he’s made the 145lb. featherweight limit each time of asking, the gruelling process visibly takes its toll on the Irishman, leaving many to question whether he’ll ever return to the division where he made his name.

There’s not many better to ask than his own coach, John Kavanagh.

As with most of Conor McGregor’s whirlwind career, no concrete plans are in place, but Kavanagh revealed to Jonathan Shrager of MMAUnderground that the supremely impressive Max Holloway (who defeated Ricardo Lamas last weekend at UFC 199 with great gusto), has joined the conversation regarding a potential opponent.

“I thought Holloway looked fantastic the other night”, Kavanagh stated.

“I’ve said it ever since Conor fought Max, I had him as the second best 145er in the division. I think he’s the best of them all. That’s just my own personal opinion, and he looked very, very good against Lamas. I was actually kind of surprised he didn’t stop him, but Lamas is a tough guy, so. Holloway really stood out in that fight for me.”

Holloway lands a left-hand on Jeremy Stephens en-route to victory at UFC 194
Holloway lands a left-hand on Jeremy Stephens en-route to victory at UFC 194

As for an actual return to 145lbs? Kavanagh was non-committal, but kept the focus on the other big featherweight story – that of Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo’s interim title fight at UFC 200 next month.

“The short answer is I don’t know.”

“I’m very intrigued to see the Aldo [vs Edgar] fight. I hope Aldo’s recovered from the bad knockout. I thought Chad Mendes went back in there [against Edgar] really quick after the knockout against Conor.

People don’t realize the damage it does. Tt takes a long time to recover, and I think Mendes went down quicker in that fight because of that. Maybe if he’d let himself rest a bit more he might have had more of a fight for Edgar.

I hope that’s not the case for Aldo,  we get to see a solid version of Aldo and a new, improved Edgar, and see what’s different from the first fight. Let’s see that, and let’s assess it after the rematch. It’s kind of those two names and Holloway in the mix, so it’s an interesting time.”

The full interview can be seen here via YouTube.

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Author: Chris Kelleher

Student whose interests lie in sports ranging from Darts to MMA, with the likes of Golf, Boxing and Soccer in between. Closet wrestling fan and a lover of sports psychology and stiff jabs.