John Kavanagh on McGregor: “This has undoubtedly been his biggest leap forward yet”


With McGregor vs Diaz 2 just around the corner, John Kavanagh has somehow found the time to craft another piece for The42.

Kavanagh spoke in-depth about how preparations were shaping up for the “Notorious” and alluded to some notable changes that have taken place in his pursuit to “get that one back”. One thing that has been given an overhaul is McGregor’s famously free-flowing approach to training, where he generally focused on himself more than his opponent.

“The word we’ve been focusing on for this camp is ‘routine’. We basically did the same thing every day since we arrived in Vegas: Leave the house to go to the gym for a skill session at 1pm, before working on cardio in the evenings.”

“There’s no comparing this training camp to any we have done previously. I can’t stress enough how different this has been. As many of you will probably already know, the routine hasn’t been something you would have associated with Conor’s preparations in the past.”

However, Kavanagh was noncommittal when outlining if this would be the case for future fights, noting that Diaz’s style makes him a distinctly unique proposition to prepare for.

“Will we approach every fight in this manner from now on? This scenario in particular is reflective of the style of opponent in question. Nate Diaz is so unique compared to the majority of other fighters in that division… We’ll make a decision on the approach for each fight when we find out who the opponent is.”

Despite these changes, Kavanagh is adamant that a new regime has only served to bring about unprecedented and positive changes in the “Notorious”; a very encouraging sign for fans of the featherweight champion.

“I’ve often spoken of how drastically Conor improves with each training camp, and while there’s certainly no denying that he gets better for every fight, this has undoubtedly been his biggest leap forward yet.”

Stepping away from McGregor momentarily, Kavanagh hinted that the Diaz loss may have a ripple effect on the entire SBG camp going forward, suggesting that shortcomings were highlighted in the “anyone, anywhere, anytime” attitude that they’ve become renowned for.

“Anyone who knows about the history of SBG Ireland will be aware that we were always regarded as the last-minute gym — the guys who would be ready to step in at short notice.

“I believe that worked well for us and the results were proof of that, but I also feel that when you’ve done that for so long, you can end up getting caught out against certain styles of opponent.”

Kavanagh also shed some light on what he felt went wrong in the first bout and in doing so, reiterated his earlier prediction of how the rematch would play out.

“But perhaps in our own eagerness to finish the fight, we were lured into areas where Diaz was more efficient.

“I’m veering towards a fourth-round finish in his [McGregor’s] favour, following an opening three rounds which I expect him to dominate in the same manner he did in the first frame of the previous fight.”

But that isn’t to say he underestimates the task his team will be faced with on August 20th, not at all. Nate Diaz proved in the last fight, and throughout his career, that he has an inhuman ability to take punishment and continue firing back, something that Kavanagh is all too aware of.

“If you look at their [Diaz brothers] fights, they’re like long-distance runners. They can go for days. They walk through punches like nobody else can.

“They have the ability to throw shots without having to be concerned about the consequences of being hit.”

Perhaps most interestingly of all, he underlined his thoughts that it’s not only McGregor’s reputation as a fighter on the line but his own as a coach also.

“This is a very important fight for Conor, but I also feel that my own reputation as a coach is at stake.”

Kavanagh signed off in typical fashion by acknowledging that there can be no excuses should McGregor fall to Diaz once again, but echoed the unerring confidence of his star pupil by predicting that there will be no need for any.

“There can be no excuses here if we don’t get the result we’re pursuing. The preparation has been flawless. But the reassuring thing from our point of view is that I know we won’t need any excuses because it’s not going to come to that.”

It remains to be seen if that confidence is misplaced or not, but with most of the MMA world seemingly betting against them, both Kavanagh and McGregor will be eager to prove their doubters wrong.

Salon-quality hair and a right foot that could open a tin of peas. Twitter: @ahayde7

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