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Morning Report: Coach predicts Conor McGregor will face Floyd Mayweather next, defend UFC title against Khabib Nurmagomedov

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UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor is a man of many options, and his coach seems to like all of them.

For the past year, McGregor has been embroiled in discussions about boxing all-time great Floyd Mayweather, Jr., with things really reaching a fever pitch after McGregor won the lightweight title at UFC 205. Now, almost every day it seems there’s a new pundit or associate claiming that the crossover superfight is sure to happen and that includes McGregor’s own coaches and teammates. McGregor’s long-time coach John Kavanagh recently spoke with Submission Radio to discuss the idea that Mayweather-McGregor is going to happen.

“I can’t answer that because I’m not privy to all that’s going on,” said Kavanagh. “It seems like it’s coming. When or how definite, I don’t know, but it’s looking more likely. And the two guys seem to want it and they’re making moves towards it, but I won’t lie, I don’t know is the short answer. There seems to be a lot of steps to get over with various commissions involved and different promotions involved and so on and so forth, but it’s a fight that’s getting more and more momentum every day and more and more people want to see it. So if you ask just me, my personal uneducated opinion on it, I would say that I believe it’s gonna happen.”

Should the fight happen, it is sure to be a massive pay-per-view draw, the two biggest draws in boxing and MMA respectively in a cross-promotional juggernaut the likes of which has not been seen since Muhammad Ali fought Antonio Inoki. Unlike Ali vs. Inoki though, this fight wouldn’t be mixed rules. Mayweather has made it clear he would only box McGregor, meaning McGregor would be at a massive disadvantage right from the outset. But Kavanagh says that challenge is part of the appeal to him and his protégé.

“One hundred percent. I love challenges and Conor is a lot more competitive than me, but I would love the challenge of it and the spectacle of it and the level of interest. . .

“So yeah, I would love to see the challenge for Conor to test himself in that area. I’ll be honest, like right from the beginning I’ve been used to hearing ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that, you can’t. You won’t train somebody up to a UFC-level from Ireland. You don’t have wrestling or grappling. It’s impossible to fight for a world title. It’s impossible to hold two world titles. It’s impossible to have a thousand-square meter gym dedicated to MMA.’ So I’ve just heard those things my whole life and yet here I am, I’m talking to you and I have a best-selling book and I’m coming to Australia to talk about that and I’ve got a world-renowned gym. So we’re kind of used to being told what we can’t do, but we don’t pay too much attention to it, we just get on and make things happen.”

For the moment, it appears that McGregor is focused on make this particular impossible task happen and Kavanagh is happy to go along. But while he would embrace the challenges presented by trying to beat the best boxer of his generation, a man who has never been officially defeated, Kavanagh says that if he had his druthers McGregor would stick to MMA where there are a number of intriguing match ups for him, including McGregor’s nemesis Nate Diaz as well as Khabib Nurmagomedov, who Kavanagh believes will be crowned the UFC interim lightweight champion this weekend.

“My number one thing would be for Conor to fight MMA. That’s my number one thing. That’s my selfish number one, what I would like to see. Which opponent? I’ve said it before – the Nate [Diaz] rematch interests me a lot because it’s 1-1 and how the styles match up. Almost on a par with that, not much difference, will be the winner of Khabib and [Tony] Ferguson this weekend. I think Khabib does it, so I think Khabib will be the winner. So Khabib will be the match up out of that. Below that would be [Georges St-Pierre]. Purely because GSP was an incredible fighter. [I’m a] big fan of him, I’ve learnt a lot from watching his fights, but it’s a long time since he’s fought and the game changes very, very quickly and I think Khabib is sort of like a better version of GSP. Although we don’t know, it’s hard to tell how GSP and Khabib would match up. But yeah, MMA-wise, Nate or almost on a par winner of Khabib/Ferguson.”

Nurmagomedov faces Ferguson on Saturday for the UFC interim lightweight title with the winner ostensibly being set to challenge McGregor for the actual championship belt sometime later this year. However, as Yoel Romero and Demian Maia recently learned, being promised a title shot and actually receiving one are two very different things. In fact, Jose Aldo was once promised a title shot against McGregor after beating Frankie Edgar for an interim featherweight championship, only to have that opportunity denied to him. But Kavanagh says he doesn’t foresee the winner of Nurmagomedov-Ferguson having the same issue as Aldo.

“I find it hard to imagine not seeing that. You know, even with Conor getting the – if and when the Mayweather fight was to happen and he got that out of the way, I know, like myself, I do believe his true love is free combat sports and there is no freer combat sport than mixed martial arts and he is the UFC lightweight champion. He did only win it a couple of months ago, so he is the lightweight champion. So I can’t imagine him not fighting the winner of [Nurmagomedov-Ferguson]. We gotta see what happens with the Mayweather talks and all that, but yeah I do believe that will happen, yes.”


MUST-READ STORIES

Titles. Georges St-Pierre will challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight title.

Easy. Michael Bisping says GSP thinks “I’m an easy opponent.”

Draw. Dana White responded to Tyron Woodley saying, “You fought to a draw in your last fight.”

$$$. Misha Cirkunov and the UFC have come to terms on a new contract.

Filing. The UFC has filed a motion to dismiss Mark Hunt’s lawsuit.


MEDIA STEW

Embedded.

Khabib and Thompson on Fox.

T-Wood on TMZ.

Mark Hunt says he’s gonna knockout the “cheating, steroid using prick.”

A Paul Bradley interview before M-1 for all five of you who care.

Bas analysis.

A video of the dedication Machida puts in to learning English.


LISTEN UP

Heavy Hands.

Press Row.

Bushido.


TWEETS

The poster.

It's on!

A post shared by Mikebisping (@mikebisping) on

Yoel’s (*cough* Malki *cough*) response.

TUF is done filming it seems.

May this has all been a ruse and Platinum Mike is actually the one fighting GSP...

This is 100% not true.

Macedo’s out it seems.

Sage can legally drink as of yesterday.

Jones rolling with Yana.

@jonnybones не получилось выиграть #yanakunitskaya #jonjones #jacksonwink #mma #invictafc22

A post shared by Yana Kunitskaya (@yanamma) on

Pretty dope picture.

Lorenz ain’t happy.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Michael Bisping (30-7) vs. Georges St-Pierre (25-2); UFC.

Jeremy Stephens (25-13) vs. Renato Moicano (10-0-1); UFC Fight Night: Kansas City, April 15.


FINAL THOUGHTS

This is why GSP came back. He doesn’t need the money and fighting at welterweight doesn’t add to his legacy. He came back to fight Bisping. Like Randy when he came back to fight Big Tim. And just wait if he wins. You think he’s gonna fight Yoel Romero? Lol. No chance. If GSP wins, Anderson Silva challenges for the middleweight belt next.

That’s it for today y’all. Have a good one and I’ll see y’all tomorrow.


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. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.