Don't count out the Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight just yet.
McGregor's head coach John Kavanagh is releasing his first book "Win Or Learn" on June 24th detailing his journey through MMA and Conor McGregor, including McGregor's loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196. In doing promotion for the book Kavanagh spoke with Jonathan Shrager of MMA Underground and the conversation eventually turned to McGregor's future, Floyd Mayweather's place in it, and what the Diaz rematch at UFC 202 means for the rumored bout.
"It puts it on hold. I think that contest will happen eventually but it's on hold for now. I'd be very surprised if it doesn't at some stage. I think it's a bigger fight; I think there's a lot of intrigue about it. I could be 100% wrong. Right now we're focusing on August 20th. We have an important rematch - a mixed martial arts fight - but if in time that fight was to be announced it would not surprise me and I think it would be an interesting one."
The bout between McGregor and Mayweather has been rumored for some months now with various news outlets reporting various levels of certainty that the bout is happening. Mayweather himself has been adamant they will make the fight happen but Dana White, while not outright shooting it down, has gone on the record stating that the fight can only take place with his involvement and that Mayweather has yet to call him.
When it was officially announced that McGregor would be rematching Nate Diaz at UFC 202 in August, many believed the fight (which was hardly guaranteed anyway) was officially dead. Kavanagh is apparently not one of them and has already started considering the match-up. Though Kavanagh admits "it will be a bit odd" to corner McGregor in a boxing match against arguably the greatest boxer of all time while having no boxing cornering experience, should the bout materialize he has a plan for how to upset Mayweather.
"It's hard to beat Floyd with boxing because he seems to be almost perfect in terms of how defensive he is. I think if you're a classically trained boxer you're gonna lose to Floyd because he just seems to make everybody look quite ordinary. But maybe somebody who doesn't strike like a boxer might be a new look for him. Maybe the odd sly knee and leg kick as well. [Laughs.] You get two warnings. [Laughs.]
"But seriously I think Conor's style is very unusual and Floyd is - I'm personally a fan of his style. I love watching him. I love watching fighters who don't get hit... I think it's absolutely beautiful and that's why I mean I think he is one of the older school trained fighters and the boxing approach most are using against him just won't work because he's been doing this for so long. He's in fantastic shape for his age and he hasn't taken much head trauma.
"So if you understand anything about skill development you'll know that he's got so many hours of that purposeful practice. Not only purposeful practice but actual competitive experience, so I don't think that same approach will beat him. But I think the way we strike in mixed martial arts and some of the movements we use and some of the approaches we use, he won't have the software ready ignition system to that way of moving and way of standing. It would be different to him. So that and a couple of sly elbows as well. [Laughs.]"
While Kavanagh is clearly joking, this is actually a pretty fair accommodation to be made. Dana White has already said that negotiations for the fight start with the full range of stand-up weapons and then they can start removing specific techniques as negotiations progress. Most assume that would ultimately result in a full on boxing match because of the leverage Mayweather would possess in such negotiations and most view a boxing match as an uncompetitive spectacle instead of a genuine sporting contest; the addition of elbows might actually be an interesting caveat to the match-up. Allowing a full arsenal of kicks and knees would almost certainly assure McGregor of victory but giving him one additional weapon may close the skill gap without overly weighting it in his favor, resulting in a more intriguing contest. But even if the fight is contested under only boxing rules, Kavanagh won't discount McGregor's chances.
"Who knows? We could upset the world. The great Ali said, ‘the impossible is nothing.'"
Kavanagh's book will be released on June 24th. McGregor rematches Nate Diaz at UFC 202 on Aug. 20th in Las Vegas, Nev.
You can listen to the rest of the interview below wherein Kavanagh talks about his book, the upcoming Aldo-Edgar rematch at UFC 200, and calls Max Holloway the second-best featherweight in the world.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Ali Act. The UFC hired a lobbying firm to combat the extension of the Ali Act to MMA.
USADA. Chad Mendes was flagged for a potential USADA violation.
Drug abuse. Brock Lesnar talked about his prescription drug abuse during his first stint with the WWE.
Fight building. Cody Garbrandt discussed his post UFC 199 dust up with Dominick Cruz.
More USADA. Tim Means agreed to a six month USADA suspension after taking tainted supplement.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
145. Patrick Wyman of Bleacher Report discusses why Anthony Pettis's move to featherweight is a good one.
Brock beating the tar out of Mir at UFC 100. You don't get the post fight speech after though which is unfortunate.
Josh Gross, one of the longest tenured and best MMA journalists, wrote a book about one of the first high profile mixed fights ever, Ali vs Inoki. Here he talks about the fight on AXS TV.
Josh Barnett talks about his upcoming fight with Andrei Arlovski.
Chael Sonnen talking about Bisping as champion.
Tommy is back.
Mike Brown talking Kimbo.
Cote and Theodorou.
I genuinely think Hendo is gonna get a title shot. Completely disregarding merit it is awesome, and I will continue beating the drum for it.
If I was to fight only one more time, who would you guys like to see me fight? @danawhite @ufc— Dan Henderson (@danhendo) June 10, 2016
Nate Quarry suggesting the Tito treatment for Dan.
@danhendo yeah, I like the Dana White option.— Nathan Quarry (@NateRockQuarry) June 11, 2016
This has something to do with the above tweet I'm sure.
Zuffa pays tribute to Ali publicly and then fights to block the soul of the Ali Act from including ALL combat sports in private.— Nathan Quarry (@NateRockQuarry) June 11, 2016
I want this Jose Aldo back.
#WECAldo #UFC200 #Reebok pic.twitter.com/O2536Pb31n— Jose Aldo Junior (@josealdojunior) June 11, 2016
DL is really the people's heavyweight champ.
While everyone is taking performance enhancement I'm here at home staring at my beer thinking if I should drink the whole 12 pack #struggle— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) June 11, 2016
This is freaking dope.
Holy shit. Epic guard pass at Akhmat pic.twitter.com/8tWsHEJ4Us— caposa (@GrabakaHitman) June 11, 2016
Dude then proceeded to win via Ezekial choke which is damn near impossible in MMA. This man is awesome.
So.. the guard flip guy (Dzhihad Yunusov) just won by Ezekiel choke. Impressive performance to the say the least. pic.twitter.com/pQqAYMENRc— caposa (@GrabakaHitman) June 11, 2016
If Conor actually beats Diaz in the rematch is that his finest moment? Sleeping one of the 5 best fighters ever in 13 seconds seems like a better one to me but I'd love to hear y'alls thoughts.
Having fun preparing for our finest moment! @John_Kavanagh! #WinOrLearn pic.twitter.com/eEJAdtSUMo— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) June 10, 2016
Cool GIF showing Rory's face at the start of each round of the Lawler title fight.
Re-watching Lawler-MacDonald II for my preview of next weekend's card. What a fight that was. pic.twitter.com/xnmeZjDTDA— Dr. Patrick Wyman (@Patrick_Wyman) June 12, 2016
It appears Luke Rockhold's father passed away this weekend. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Look Mr. Frodo, the Eagles.
Gus still waiting on a fight. Either OSP or a heavyweight fight would be great. I think he would translate well up a weight class.
Rustam Khabilov (19-3-0) vs. Reza Madadi (14-4-0); UFC Fight Night Hamburg, September 3.
Chidi Njokuani (14-4-0, 1 NC) vs. Thiago Jambo (18-4-0); Bellator 156, June 17.
John Howard (23-12-0) vs. Michael Arrant (15-10-0); WSOF 31, June 17.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2009: Rich Franklin defeated Wanderlei Silva by unanimous decision in a 195 lb. catchweight bout in the main event of UFC 99. In the co-main event, Cheick Kongo almost knocked out Cain Velasquez, hurting him badly with a couple of big right hands but Velasquez was able to recover and win a unanimous decision.
2015: Fabricio Werdum became the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion, beating Sea-Level Cain Velasquez by guillotine choke in the third round of the main event of UFC 188. In the co-main event, Eddie Alvarez began his split decision filled run towards a title shot, taking a split decision over Gilbert Melendez who tested positive for PEDS after the bout.
And so begins another week in the wonderful world of MMA. If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it.