According to Conor McGregor’s long-time coach John Kavanagh, the UFC’s new featherweight champion is eager to get back into the Octagon long before UFC 200 in July.
“He’s never gonna wait until July,” Kavanagh told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour show. “Even if I was to suggest it or encourage it, I know it’s a pointless effort.”
Nothing’s been decided yet, but Kavanagh believes that McGregor will be back in action in a matter of months, and on top of that he suggests that he may well move up a division for the occasion.
“I do think the next one will be lightweight for the belt,” Kavanagh said. “Maybe that’s going to be around April. March, April — something like that. … Maybe that and then July, UFC 200. Maybe he’ll defend the featherweight belt against Frankie on that card.”
McGregor is in a strong position to call the shots, but nevertheless you have to wonder what the UFC will make of all this. UFC 200 is a huge event for them and they’ll be looking to rival their UFC 100 extravaganza which saw the two biggest stars of that era, Brock Lesnar and GSP both competing on a monster card that still holds the record for most PPV buys ever at 1.6 million.
With the promotion’s other superstar Ronda Rousey already in doubt for that show due to the loose teeth she’s suffering from as a result of her KO loss to Holly Holmat UFC 193 last month, they’ll be desperate to ensure that McGregor is fit and healthy for the show.
If he does end up fighting in march or April then there’s a real risk he could get injured and not be able to compete in July, and / or lose which would take some of the wind of his sails prior to the blockbuster event.
On the other hand, McGregor only had 13 second of cage time on Saturday night so he’s still fresh and raring to go, so perhaps the UFC will be willing to roll the dice and hope he emerges unscathed. Regardless of which event he’s on or who he’s fighting McGregor is almost guaranteed to deliver big ratings right now, so the thought of him competing twice in the first seven months of 2016 will be appealing to the UFC’s brass.
Whatever happens it’s refreshing to have a champion who’s willing to fight anyone at any time and isn’t afraid to throw caution to the wind. As the saying goes, ‘with great risk comes great reward,’ and so far McGregor’s time in the UFC has been very rewarding indeed.