Conor McGregor’s long-time coach John Kavanagh has been speaking about his fighters upcoming rematch with Dustin Poirier and more in a new interview.
During the chat with McGregor’s own Maclife website, Kavanagh suggested that though he’s clearly an improved fighter, that it was still going to be “an uphill battle” for Poirier to reverse the outcome of the first fight back in 2014, which ‘The Notorious’ won in the first round by TKO.
“I think you can spend a lifetime going to sports psychologists and talking to this person and that person; that’s not going to have been erased from his mind,” Kavanagh said.
“He knows that he is facing somebody who can shut off his lights very, very rapidly and now is a lot more powerful and a lot more experienced than he was even then, so it’s a tough, uphill battle for Dustin.”
“I think (Poirier) has definitely gotten better. There’s a few more takedown attempts now in his fights. I hadn’t seen it before – he has a good guillotine. We can see that.
“Then his volume and his conditioning is looking on point. You can see in his fights he has an ability to take a lot of punishment and still come forward.
“Pick any of last few fights to see that quality. However, he’s fighting a different animal than any of those guys: somebody with true, one-punch knockout power that he’s already felt.”
Kavanagh also spoke of his disappointment that the fight won’t be for the lightweight title, despite the signs at the moment suggesting that Khabib Nurmagomedov might not reverse his decision to retire.
“I don’t really get why this one isn’t for the title, if I’m being 100 percent honest,” Kavanagh said. “Maybe it’s Dana – this is a little carrot towards Khabib. I don’t know. I know there’s types of games that go on that don’t involve myself, but this, for me, feels like it’s for the belt. I guess at the very least, the winner of this will be offered a title fight, but who would that be against? It’s a bit of a strange scene where we have in front of us, which makes it interesting.”
And as for his own thoughts on whether Khabib will return to action, Kavanagh is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“I think Conor and Khabib are the two best lightweights, and it would be for me, of course from a coaching perspective, it would be phenomenal to see that contest again. Will he come back? You’re asking the wrong guy. That’s Khabib. He seems the type of guy that if he says something, that’s it, but like Dana has hinted, it seems to me there might be some wiggle room in those promises made. So you know, time will tell.”