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John Kavanagh: If Conor McGregor lost, I would have gotten 'Ronda Rousey's coach's treatment'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

John Kavanagh had dozens of worried Irish fans come up to him last week. Some of them apologized that he was not Conor McGregor's coach anymore. Others were flat outraged.

"I spent all my life savings on this trip and you have him doing cucaracha or something," Kavanagh said one fan told him.

The coach's response to all of them was this: "You must be watching UFC Embedded."

The vlog series follows around fighters in the final week before big fights. In this particular edition, McGregor was shown doing drills with new movement coach Ido Portal. Some of them looked downright silly -- like putting out candles with the snap of his wrist or dancing on the beach.

Many McGregor fans were horrified. They saw Jose Aldo looking like a monster hitting mitts, while McGregor was messing around on a balance beam. Kavanagh assured Monday on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani that more went on in McGregor's camp than just these unorthodox drills.

"That's a 10-second look at our day," Kavanagh said. ... "We do a lot of hard training. There's a lot of tough rounds that have to be done in preparation for a fight like this."

McGregor (19-2), of course, ended up knockout Aldo out in just 13 seconds Saturday night in the main event of UFC 194 in Las Vegas. The brash Irishman is now the undisputed UFC featherweight champion -- and perhaps the biggest pay-per-view draw in the sport following reports that UFC 194 was the second biggest PPV in UFC history.

Bringing in Portal seems like a stroke of brilliance now, doesn't it?

"Apparently I'm a genius now that this was my idea," Kavanagh said with a laugh. "But if he'd have lost, I'd have gotten poor Ronda Rousey's coach's treatment. I would have been the worst human being on the planet. That's MMA fans. They're a fickle bunch."

Rousey's coach Edmond Tarverdyan has taken a bunch of heat following Rousey's knockout loss to Holly Holm last month.

Kavanagh actually said this was one of the toughest training camps of McGregor's career. He had him out of bed at 10 a.m. -- very early for McGregor, who likes to train in the middle of the night -- to go for runs in the Dublin cold and rain. There was more shivering than shimmying on those mornings.

Portal's presence was solely for the stretch run, Kavanagh said. When all the grueling training was over.

"For the last seven days or 10 days, it was really just about weight management," Kavanagh said. "We brought in Ido and it was a complete change -- the yin and the yang, if you want to say, of martial arts. We went to the soft for the last week or so, because the hardware had been approved at this stage and the software just had to be maintained. It was just about keeping the body injury free, sore free."

And, apparently, scaring the heck out of McGregor fans worldwide.

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