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Morning Report: Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh: We’re looking forward to shocking the world, then December UFC fight

When the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor was announced as a real thing that was actually going to happen, it took the sports world by storm. But with the fight scheduled for Aug. 26, the MMA quickly began to wonder about the future of McGregor’s UFC lightweight title. The Irish superstar has not fought since winning the belt in November of last year, and with the promise of the biggest payday of his lifetime on the horizon, there have been legitimate questions about whether McGregor will ever return to the UFC to defend his belt.

Well question no more. In a recent piece for The 42, McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh wrote that at the moment, the plan is for McGregor to return to the cage in December, though a victory over Mayweather could complicate things by creating a demand for a rematch.

“Many of the questions I’ve been receiving over the past week have focused on when Conor will fight in the UFC again. My expectation is that it will happen this year, although it’s always difficult to predict what Conor is going to do next.

“If he goes in there and knocks out Mayweather in the first round, there will probably be talk of rematches and stuff like that. But the tentative plan, as I see it, is certainly for a fight in the UFC in December. But in the meantime we’re completely focused on boxing and Floyd Mayweather.”

Kavanagh is McGregor’s longtime trainer and helped shepherd the young Irishman to winning simultaneous titles at featherweight and lightweight in both Cage Warriors and the UFC. But after conquering MMA, McGregor and Kavanagh are now fully focused on taking over boxing, and though he knows they’re the underdog, Kavanagh thinks they have plenty of advantages in this fight.

“I believe we have a number of advantages going into this fight. Often, people who are experts in a certain field will tell you that it can actually be more awkward to deal with somebody who’s not from the same field. They’d rather deal with the top contender from their own discipline because he’ll move in a way that you assume he’ll move.

“Mayweather has been in the boxing world for his entire career and everyone he’s faced has moved in a certain way that he’s pre-conditioned to handle. Now he’s going up against a guy who doesn’t follow any set patterns, who can deploy a variety of different styles of fighting and is not one bit intimidated. Conor is — as we all are here — 100% confident in victory. That kind of person is very difficult to deal with.”

And when you consider his career trajectory, it’s hard to argue with McGregor’s confidence. In a little over five years, McGregor went from living on public assistance, to main-eventing what is likely to be the most lucrative fight of all time. With only one notable exception (hello Nate Diaz) McGregor has done nothing but succeed and, as Kavanagh points out, betting against him has proven to be a fool’s errand.

“When we went to Sweden for Conor’s UFC debut in 2013, if we had said then that he is going to be a champion simultaneously in two UFC divisions in three years’ time, people may have seen that as a less realistic goal than fighting Floyd Mayweather one day. Yet here we are.

“The fact that he has constantly been written off is never going to change. Conor could beat Mayweather and people will say: ‘Yeah, but he hasn’t fought Manny Pacquaio yet.’

“There’s a running theme with his career where firstly an idea will seem ridiculous, secondly it’s eventually accepted, and then finally people will come up with a new challenge which apparently he’ll never be able to overcome. We’re used to it now and that’s fine with us.”

But taking a boxing match with Mayweather despite no professional experience may in fact prove to be a bridge too far. Mayweather is one of the greatest boxers of all time, sporting a gaudy 49-0 record with wins over some of the best boxers of his era. Many have suggested that for Mayweather, this fight is a magic bullet: a way to get to the pristine “50-0” record (one better than Rocky Marciano) while facing a wildly overmatched opponent and making the most possible money. But Kavanagh, true to McGregor’s fabled statement statement from UFC Fight Night 46, insisted that McGregor wasn’t going to Las Vegas to take part in boxing, he was going to take over.

“We’re not going over to Las Vegas to make up the numbers on 26 August. When this contest takes place, we’ll be 100% ready — physically and mentally — and nothing other than victory will be acceptable.

“We’re looking forward to shocking the world — again.”


Shove. Wanderlei Silva shoved Chael Sonnen at the Bellator NYC press conference.

West Linn Gangster. Chael Sonnen reacts to the shove from Wanderlei Silva.

Key. Conor McGregor’s manager says Lorenzo Ferttita was ‘instrumental’ in creation of Floyd Mayweather fight.

Ambition. Aaron Pico believes he can be a world champion in boxing as well.

Disappointment. Michael Chandler is “disappointed” Justin Gaethje didn’t sign with Bellator.


Sensational promo here.

Floyd training footage.

Bellator’s pseudo-embedded with a couple cameos from Ariel and Luke.

I kind of really love this idea.

Chandler has a series of vids up ahead of his fight.

And Sage has something as well.

And Robert Whittaker too!



Fights Gone By. Jack Slack on the Mayweather-McGregor fiasco.

Submission Radio. Cris Cyborg and Michael Johnson interviews among others.

You’re Welcome. Chael P. on Max Holloway and the Reebok deal.


Chael being Chael.

Dana does not understand how odds work. Oddsmakers do not disagree, fans do.

Then again, maybe the fans have something here.

Times they are a changing.


Double beef.

Kayla Harrison working on them hands.




Kurt Holobaugh (17-4) vs. Matt Bessette (22-7); UFC Tuesday Night Contenders 1, July 11.

Greg Rebello (22-7) vs. Azunna Anyanwu (13-4); UFC Tuesday Night Contenders 1, July 11.

Boston Salmon (5-1) vs. Ricky Turcios (8-0); UFC Tuesday Night Contenders 1, July 11.

Justin Jones (9-2) vs. Charles Byrd (7-4); UFC Tuesday Night Contenders 1, July 11.

Joby Sanchez (9-2) vs. Manny Vazquez (11-2); UFC Tuesday Night Contenders 1, July 11.


2002: Fedor Emelianenko made his Pride FC debut, winning a unanimous decision over Semmy Schilt at Pride 21: Demolition. Also that evening, Don Frye won the Fight of the Year, going full on Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots with Yoshihiro Takayama.

2007: B.J. Penn redeemed his earliest loss, submitting Jens Pulver with a rear-naked choke at The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale. Also that night, Nate Diaz made his UFC debut, winning the TUF title when Manny Gamburyan injured his shoulder.

2012: Rich Franklin recorded his last MMA win, taking a unanimous decision over Wanderlei Silva in their rematch at UFC 147.


I don’t buy it. Unless the UFC is gonna give him some enormous PPV percentage, I just don’t see him coming back to the UFC after this. I’ve been wrong before, notably with this fight even being made, but still. After this fight, Conor won’t need the money and he can make substantially more in other endeavors without risking his health. He’s a smart dude and always said he was trying to get out early. That would be the perfect exit. Maaaaaaybe he would come back for a one-off shot at the welterweight title to really cement his legacy, but if he comes back and actually defends the lightweight belt, I’ll eat my shoe.

Anyway, that’s it for today. Enjoy the fights this weekend, especially the return of B.J. Penn as he makes his way to the featherweight title. Take it easy y’all and Conor bless.

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 it.

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