Conor McGregor’s motivation to fight in mixed martial arts (MMA) is back.
At least, that’s the case according to his longtime head coach John Kavanagh. The SBG Ireland front man detailed his take on the oft-discussed topic while sitting down with “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” earlier this week.
Yet while McGregor, who’s currently nursing a hand injury, wants an anticipated rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov, ‘The Eagle’ believes he should win a fight or two first. So Kavanagh opened up to Helwani (via MMA Fighting) about just whom McGregor should fight to earn another shot at the title. For him, it’s always been his trilogy bout with Nate Diaz:
“I always loved the Diaz trilogy. I’ve kind of said that from the start. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Nate looks in the fight that’s coming up [against Anthony Pettis]. That would be just, as a fan, very exciting. Justin Gaethje kind of reminds me of that similar style, you know he can take a tremendous amount of punishment and keep coming forward.
“Honestly if it’s Conor excited, and motivated, and pushing himself hard, it doesn’t really matter all that much to me. Anybody in the UFC at the level that Conor McGregor would be fighting are good opponents, they have different challenges. If you’re going to put a gun to me, it would be the Diaz trilogy. That would be for me.”
Confident In Khabib Rematch
McGregor and Diaz infamously threw down in what could be called the top-drawing rivalry in UFC history back in 2016. Diaz, of course, won the first fight in a short-notice match-up at UFC 196. McGregor turned around and won a controversial majority draw in the rematch at UFC 202 that August to earn a title shot. He beat Eddie Alvarez for the UFC 155-pound title that November and hasn’t won in MMA since.
McGregor’s only fought once as well, losing a one-sided bout with ‘The Eagle’ via submission at UFC 229. Due to that result, Kavanagh was asked if McGregor needs a tuneup fight before facing Khabib again. He replied that most fighters would, but not a motivated McGregor:
“I think for 99.9 percent of people, yes [you should get a confidence-boosting win first]. But there is absolute confidence that I have in him and he has for himself. So I don’t think it’s as important. It’s a very unique person, a very unique character. Almost anybody else, I would say yeah. For Conor, no. Actually, recently watching the fight and I would be very confident in a rematch. I would be.”
Do you agree that the McGregor vs. Diaz trilogy should be settled next?