After Conor McGregor was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, he reported he’s ready to fight the next lightweight in line, if need be. But, recently his longtime coach, John Kavanagh, has made some interesting comments about the star’s future.
Immediately after the ugly, post-fight brawl that ensued, following McGregor’s aforementioned loss, there was a lot of talk about an immediate rematch. But, as calmer heads prevailed and people took a step back from what had happened, those calls subsided. After all, Nurmagomedov controlled much of the action and finished McGregor in the fourth. So, due to the awe-inspiring run Tony Ferguson has been on, calls for “El Cucuy” to get a title shot quickly grew (and Dana White has said he believes that Khabib – Ferguson should be next).
So where does that leave McGregor? The biggest star in combat sports? More recently White relayed he’d like to see McGregor and Dustin Poirier fight for a second time, so that’s one option. There’s also a rubber match with Nate Diaz always in the wings, and Donald Cerrone has called McGregor out too.
Well, recently Kavanagh spoke with the Independent.ie, and he had some very interesting things to say about McGregor’s future, and the part he might play in it. After noting how much money McGregor’s making via his whiskey business, Kavanagh questioned whether the star might decide it’s time to hang up the gloves. Then, he also noted that McGregor would need to “convince” him, before Kavanagh signed up for another camp.
“Yeah, I love him. I love the whole journey we’ve had but I’d need a good ‘why’. It might be Diaz again because he promised that fight. It might be a rematch with Khabib. But if it was just: ‘Well, they want me to fight that guy’ I think I’d say, ‘I wish you the best.’
“…I’ll come back to my reasoning. He has a wife and two kids now and I don’t want him taking more hits than he needs to. Khabib hit him with a punch in that fight that he has never been hit with in his career. And even Superman slows down at some stage.”
Clearly, most fans would welcome McGregor – Poirier 2, Cerrone – McGregor or Diaz – McGregor 3 with open arms. Nearly every fan, even the purists, would tune into Nurmagomedov – McGregor 2. But, you do have to wonder whether Kavanagh’s comments could make the former champ take a long look at what fight is offered before he accepts.
Will running it back with Poirier, someone he quickly defeated, spike McGregor’s interest? Or would a third fight with Diaz at this juncture? Someone who hasn’t fought since he lost to McGregor back in 2016?
Now, on one hand, it is kind of hard to imagine McGregor walking away from the game at the age of 30. But, the UFC may need to put something truly special together before McGregor returns. Would fighting for a third, historic UFC title via a newly created, 165 division do the trick? If a rematch with Khabib really isn’t going to be tabled?