Conor McGregor reassembles the group for his next coaching stint on The ultimate fighter and a possible showdown with lightweight contender Michael Chandler later this year.
A familiar face returning to the limelight is McGregor’s head coach, John Kavanagh, who has been a part of the Irishman’s success from the very start. Kavanagh has been at McGregor’s side through all the ups and downs he’s had throughout his storied career and can’t wait to see ‘Notorious’ return to the top in 2023.
Ahead of a matchup with Chandler — a fighter who boasts wrestling power and knockout power — Kavanagh believes McGregor could have the same kind of success he did against featherweight Chad Mendes all the way back in 2015. Chandler is certainly a bigger and stronger opponent than Mendes, but Kavanagh suggests the two fighters possess very similar attributes.
“I think it might look a bit like the Mendes fight,” Kavanagh told Sherdog earlier this week. “Mendes had this style: block guy, big punches, big double legs. I think that’s how it could be. Conor has a good record against those kind of orthodox, stocky wrestlers with big overhand rights and big double legs. It is exciting to prepare. Chandler, he’s a great fighter, he’s got a great resume.
Whether or not the match is good on paper, McGregor will need the proper motivation to prepare for a return to the cage. Remember, the last time we saw ‘Notorious’ compete he broke his leg in a TKO loss to Dustin Poirier all the way back at UFC 264 in 2021. All told, McGregor has only fought three times since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov. Four years ago.
Fortunately, Kavanagh thinks McGregor is motivated enough to return to old form and prove he’s still a viable contender in the sport.
“Yeah, he never stopped training,” Kavanagh said. “He’s in phenomenal shape, and there’s real excitement about him. There is a real buzz around him. And I’ll be honest: you know what the level of motivation will be when you reach the titles you’ve achieved, the money, etc. ? But, man, I’ve never seen him as excited as I’ve seen him lately.
“I’m just very excited. He is delighted to be back. I’m glad to see him again. I think it’s great for Irish MMA in general. I think it’s fair to say it’s great for MMA in general. I have no concerns about motivation. The motivation is there to show everyone that this is their world, this is their game.”
What do you say, Maniacs? Will Chandler suffer the same fate as Mendes against McGregor?