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John Kavanagh on Conor McGregor: ‘I hope we go back to doing the positive things’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

John Kavanagh made his third appearance on Ireland’s most established talk show, The Late Late Show, on Friday night and discussed the future of Conor McGregor, his own future with the outspoken Irishman, and the impact “The Notorious” has had on the perception of MMA in Ireland.

Kavanagh claimed a meeting with McGregor last Friday night was the first time he had seen him in person in months and that he is hoping to sit down with the former two-weight champion next week to plan his next move.

“He’s just back from the States; he was in Miami for the last few months training,” Kavanagh told Ryan Tubridy on Friday’s The Late Late Show.

“I had a small amateur show on Friday night and he showed up. I didn’t even know he was going to be there, he showed up and that was the first time I’d seen him in a while. There had been a couple of texts exchanged back and forth and I’m hoping to sit down next week and see what the plan is.”

“[It had been] months [since I saw him],” he clarified. “He had been in Miami taking a break, but also training. Physically, I hadn’t seen him in quite a while.”

As for McGregor’s short-lived retirement, Kavanagh highlighted how he questioned whether his most famous student would still be motivated after scaling to the top of the sport.

“You know as much as I do,” he replied when asked about McGregor’s short-lived retirement. “It’s funny, when he won the second world title, as a coach it’s almost like a nightmare because he achieved everything he set out to do; he won the world titles, he broke every meaningful record in the UFC, he made enough money to retire a few times over,” said Kavanagh.

“Training MMA for fitness or recreation is fun, but training for professional fighting is very tough, it’s very tough on the body. You’re losing all the desire to do those things because it’s either about winning titles or making money, he done those, so what was going to keep motivating him, to keep putting him through that grind?”

The SBG head coach went on to say that he has noticed a “resurgence” in McGregor’s passion for competition.

“I think there has been a resurgence in his passion and his love and I think if the right contest comes along, something that’s very interesting to him, a good challenge, something that will get the crowd going…I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t fight again…as soon as…it could be even the summer,” Kavanagh said.

Regarding the speculation as to whether he and McGregor had gone their separate ways, Kavanagh seemed optimistic in terms of their relationship moving forward.

“Very much so, I certainly hope so,” Kavanagh said when asked if he would be in McGregor’s corner when he eventually returns to action.

Kavanagh also highlighted how he cares about the negative impact McGregor’s recent arrests have had on the perception of MMA in Ireland and how he hopes the infamous former champion gets back to doing “positive things”.

“I do [care], I absolutely do,” he said. “[I care about] the perception of the sport; it’s been around before Conor and it’ll be around after he’s finished with it. I do think, myself and everyone in Ireland that’s involved in MMA, we’re hugely thankful for what Conor has done. He shone a huge light on what we did…but he has made mistakes that I absolutely don’t condone. I know he regrets them, he’s paid for them, he’s trying to learn from them and he’s trying to move on.

“I hope we go back to doing the positive things; the goal setting, the work ethic, going for something that seems impossible. Those are the qualities I love in Conor, that I love talking about when I’m in the kids’ classes…I’m conscious of the fact that I need to set a good example for them and I know Conor does as well. That’s what I want to get back to…the many, many positive qualities that he has.”

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