John Kavanagh talks prospective opponents for Nelson and McGregor at UFC Dublin

With John Kavanagh starting a social media campaign to ensure Gunnar Nelson a place on the UFC’s July 19th Dublin card, the Irish BJJ black belt explained why he believes the Icelandic welterweight deserves a chance to perform in the Irish capital.

“Gunnar is almost Irish, he developed a lot of his skills in Dublin and he lived here in different spells since he was a teenager,” said Kavanagh. “The Irish fans love him and have seen him fight his way to the UFC, why wouldn’t he be on the card?

“He was promised a top ten opponent after his performance in London and I think it would be a fantastic main or co-main event for the UFC’s return to Dublin. I think Gunnar is the most exciting welterweight fighter in the world and people are fascinated by his personality. It just makes sense.”

When the SBGi head coach took to Twitter and Facebook last week to bolster Nelson’s chances of a competitive appearance in Dublin, some wondered if there had been a spanner thrown in the works with regard to the chances of the honorary Irishman performing at the event. However, Kavanagh insisted that had been no contact with UFC in relation to the card.

“There has been no word from the UFC at all with regard to any of my guys fighting on that card, and maybe people who follow different sports feel like it’s disrespectful for us to go about things in this way, but if we know anything about the UFC it’s that they listen to fans on social media.

“Obviously there’s a big event on this weekend and they’ll be busy with that, but I think we should drum up some excitement and make some noise to guarantee that Gunnar gets his spot on the card,” he encouraged.

Originally courting Rory MacDonald as a counterpart for the Mjolnir man in his next bout, with the Canadian being confirmed to fight Tyron Woodley earlier this month the Irish coach didn’t hesitate when asked who he would now like to see face his student.

“As a coach I’d like to see him fight anyone once he’s on the card, but as a fan I really want to see him fight Mike Pyle. I think if Gunnar got a win over him it would put him into the title conversation and I know it would be a great matchup.

“Mike Pyle is a brilliant fighter, as a student I learn something from him every time I watch him, I think he would force the best out of Gunnar. I think Gunnar would be too much for him though, he’s just too technical.”

Kavanagh also revealed that Conor McGregor’s much speculated bout against Cole Miller had still not been confirmed:

“People keep telling me it’s Cole Miller, everywhere I go they’re asking about it. There has been no contract signed, no formal offer but there has been a massive amount of talk about the two guys fighting. The UFC usually respond to what the fans want, but still, we’ve heard nothing.”

Minutes after the interview had finished, John Kavanagh put out the following tweet: “nice thing about having @ufc @UFCFightPass is that when i get news of a fight confirmed i can go study….time to watch some fights”.

Despite the exciting post, Kavanagh claimed that he is unable to share any information with media at this point.

#GunniForUFCDublin

@PetesyCarroll

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.