Conor McGregor's Coach John Kavanagh Names The Fight He'd Love To See The Most And Reacts To 'Idiot' Jake Paul's Call Out
'Shaved-head' Conor McGregor is a different animal. Just ask his coach John Kavanagh who reckons "it would be very different" in the rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov while revealing the fight he'd love to see the most for his star pupil.
"Hold onto your seats," a smiling Kavanagh tells SPORTbible as a primed McGregor nears his Octagon return at UFC 257. The man who is tasked with honing the UFC star's skills has teased a busy year with potentially multiple MMA and boxing fights in 2021.
And, yes - that includes a potential rematch against Nurmagomedov with Kavanagh insisting not to "discount" him if they run it back.
"I think it would be very different in the rematch. We saw a glimpse of what was possible in that fight. The shaved-head Conor, don't discount it," he explained.
While Team McGregor are solely focused on Dustin Poirier, they're aware of future showdowns with Nate Diaz high on their list. In fact, it is the fight Kavanagh would love to see the most.
When asked about a trilogy bout, he replied: "It kind of has to, doesn't it!? Batman and Joker have to fight one more time. If you were to ask me, that's the one I'd love to see the most. I just think they gel together so well. I would definitely like to see at 155.
"You can't be in the business of MMA and not at least admire the Diaz brothers. Their approach to fighting and genuinely one of the few genuine anyone, anytime, anywhere fighters out there. He is that guy. I'd be curious to see him on the scales at 55. That's not easy."
What about Jake Paul? The gobby YouTuber whose called out McGregor? Well, don't expect McGregor and Paul to share a ring anytime soon.
Kavanagh exclaimed: "I want to get one of those t-shirts, stop making idiots famous - it's just so stupid. I run out of steam talking about it. Stop making idiots famous, there's my answer to 'Jake Logan.'"
Yachtside :flag_ae: :motorboat: @etihadarena_ae pic.twitter.com/uxIgnvh1nO
- Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 18, 2021
Ahead of his first fight since destroying Donald Cerrone, McGregor has shown off his new physique - revealing a jacked and ripped frame at 155lbs and Kavanagh says the former 'champ-champ' is on target to make the lightweight limit for the first time since 2018.
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"He's on target. Weight is something that weighs on our mind," he added. "So, for the last couple of months he's had certain targets to hit every few weeks and he's been spot on the whole way through.
"We're anticipating a very gentle and easy water weight cut, but he is in phenomenal shape - mentally and physically."
On his mentality, he added: "I liked [Max] Holloway's quote that this is shaved-head Conor. It's all business!
"I don't remember the last time seeing him like this and he's very excited about it. A busy year. Let's focus on this one, we're not looking past Dustin, but I'm anticipating a busy year."
Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor at #UFC257 this Saturday!!#InAbuDhabi ' @VisitAbuDhabi pic.twitter.com/c1V1Z9b5LB
- UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) January 18, 2021
Of course, before unlocking Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor II and McGregor vs. Diaz III, the Irishman needs to see off the threat of the "fantastic" Poirier at UFC 257. Kavanagh's well aware of the American's skillset having kept an eye on his impressive streak since 2014, but he insists it's a completely different situation on fight night when the intimidating presence that is McGregor stands in front of you, foreseeing a state of panic.
"Fantastic fighter. I call it the school of McGregor that some of these guys like Holloway, even [Jose] Aldo, the guys that came through getting fairly one-sided beating from him have gone onto great things and Dustin certainly has gone on a great tear. I'm sure he learned a lot from the first fight. I'm sure he's mentally prepared.
"But it still is different on fight night when he's standing in front of you. He's just got such an intimidating presence. When that first shot lands and he's reminded of the power, It's going to be very hard for him not to panic a little bit even with all his experience. I don't think this fight is going to be hugely different from the first fight."
McGregor will be hoping for a more active 2021 following a frustrating last year and Kavanagh predicts a "perfect" year ahead of his eagerly-awaited comeback.
"2021 is going to be a perfect year and 2021 is going to see McGregor repeatedly, lots of competitions, maybe boxing, maybe MMA, maybe both of them multiple times. Let's get MMA rocking and let's get McGregor in there a few times this year."
BT Sport Box Office will show UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor 2 exclusively live from 3am on Saturday 23rd January. UFC 257 can be watched on BT TV, Virgin TV, Sky, online via the web or the BT Sport Box Office App and is available to buy at www.bt.com/sportboxoffice
Featured Image Credit: Jake Paul/Conor McGregor
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