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Morning Report: John Kavanagh says Conor McGregor has ‘owned up to his mistakes,’ believes he’s on a ‘good comeback story’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

2019 was a tumultuous year for Conor McGregor. From smashing a fan’s phone to assaulting a patron in a pub, to multiple sexual assault allegations reportedly made against him, McGregor spent most of 2019 fighting legal battles instead of physical ones. But near the end of the year, McGregor seemingly recognized the self-destructive path he’d been careening down, and vowed to course correct.

Since then, McGregor has been on his best behavior, and after demolishing Donald Cerrone in just 40 seconds at UFC 246, the MMA world is once again at McGregor’s feet. John Kavanagh, McGregor’s head coach, believes that his protege is beyond the troubles that plagued him the last few years, and they will now be embarking on what will become one of the great redemptive stories in the sport.

“I’m incredibly proud of Conor,” Kavanagh told RTÉ 2fm’s Game On. “I realize it was him individually who has made the sport so well known. I get stopped by 60-year-old ladies asking me how his wrestling training is coming along. I know it was him who made it a huge sport in Ireland so I’m very, very proud of that.

“It comes with the territory. Negative headlines get more clicks than positive headlines. That’s just the media game. He’s spoken himself about his slips and his mistakes. He’s had to pay for those outside of the sport. I feel we’re on a good comeback story - he had a great win in January - but yeah, like most things in life you take the good with the bad, you roll with it and try to improve, learn from mistakes and get better as a human being and an athlete as you go on.”

McGregor has certainly minded his Ps and Qs over the last few months. Even in the buildup to UFC 246, “Notorious” was anything but, promoting with a calm and genial demeanor that was a sharp divergence from his usual maniac braggadocio. McGregor even went so far as to compliment Cowboy Cerrone during their pre-fight press conference, something that is is usually reserved for his post-fight reflections.

It was a side of McGregor that had many fans questioning if that was perhaps a more true representation of the man himself instead of the character that launched him to global superstardom. And Kavanagh seems to agree, suggesting that McGregor’s sudden rise from unknown fighter to international sensation was jarring and maybe contributed to McGregor’s troubles.

“It’s a very weird rise from being an unknown guy in Dublin, doing a sport no one has heard of, to being a global superstar,” Kavanagh said. “Everything you say and do is analyzed. He had to make his mistakes very publicly and visibly. I’m proud of how he’s come through those things. He’s owned up to his mistakes. He’s trying to make himself a better person and I’m behind that.”

McGregor is currently awaiting the lightweight title fight between champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson that will take place at UFC 249. McGregor has stated he’d like to serve as a replacement should something happen to either competitor. Meanwhile, Dana White is adamant McGregor will get the next title shot at the winner of that bout.


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This is a journey.

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Classic Tony.

He really is the worst.

Al jumping in.

Jan getting dramatic.



Eryk Anders (13-4) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (21-4); UFC Portland, April 11.


Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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