Conor McGregor gets surprising support from his coach…
Conor McGregor’s longtime head coach John Kavanaugh has kept his eye on the UFC Lightweight division. McGregor, the division champion, has not competed in MMA for almost two years. In his absence Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson has obtained the Interim Championship and Khabib Nurmagomedov has secured himself a fight with Tony at UFC 223 in Brooklyn. Although Tony currently has a higher status, the most hype surrounds Khabib, who’s eastern stoicism and brutal style make a phenomenal style matchup with the flamboyant Irishman.
This week Kavanaugh gave his thoughts on Khabib Vs McGregor in a facebook live interview.
“They’re on a path to meet each other, so I’m of course watching everything he does. I just think when you’re facing somebody with the type of stopping power Conor has in his hands, if you just stand very upright and look to walk towards somebody and get a body lock, that’s a risky strategy.”
Khabib’s last outing was against dynamic striker Edson Barboza. “The Eagle” was able to close distance on Barboza and impose his grappling, but Kavanaugh believes Conor is a different beast.
“Now, Barboza is a great kicker, but trying spinning kicks on someone who can close distance quickly like Khabib and has a body lock heavy grappling game, it’s maybe not the best idea.
“For somebody who can make people overextend themselves and who has genuine one punch knockout power – and we’ve seen Khabib get rocked by Michael Johnson for example – I find it hard to envisage anything other than Conor knocking him out.”
Khabib certainly took a shot against Michael Johnson, although whether or not he was “rocked” is still up for speculation. However Kavanaugh definitely acknowledges Khabib’s skills:
“He’s a different level of grappling with that intensity that he brings. It’s just a dangerous strategy. It’s still relying on the ability to walk through the shots and then that pressure starts up against the fence. There are not many people better in the world than him at that, but a fight starts standing and it starts separated.”
Other than the technical matchup Kavanaugh seems excited about he promotional aspect to the fight.
“I can’t see it not happening this year. And when it does, and all the details are finalized, between the build-up and the press conferences and everything, it’s going to be a typical Conor McGregor fight in that it stops the world. It will be incredible, and I really hope it happens. I’m really looking forward to it.”