2021 has been the worst professional year of Conor McGregor’s professional fighting career. In January, McGregor suffered his first knockout defeat in MMA when he lost to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257. Then, six months later, McGregor lost the rematch when he snapped his shin in half. Since then, McGregor has been rehabbing from his injury and by all accounts, his recovery has gone exceedingly well, which means that things are full steam ahead for 2022, at least, according to McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh.
“He’s going to be back in the gym, he’s going to be back on the mats now in the next couple of weeks with me,” Kavanagh told Submission Radio. “He’s doing a lot of strength training at the moment. The guys is jacked. I think he’s coming back as a middleweight (laughs). But he’ll be back on the mats with me now shortly and we’ll start off with combat sports training again. And, he’s getting some, um… I always have to choose my words carefully here, but look, we’ll start with drills.
“I actually joked with him, I said, ‘look, I’d rather if we just start off with some techniques, some drills, let’s see how you’re going’. And he’s like, ‘no, I’m going to do five by five, that’s what I’m coming back to do’. And I’m like, oh, great, you know, we’re straight into full combat training again. But, he’s very enthusiastic, very upbeat, very excited to attack 2022. And I’m not sure when he’ll be back, but he’ll be back.”
With a 2022 return in store for McGregor, the question inevitably becomes who he will face. A number of fighters have jumped out as possible opponents, including Rafael dos Anjos, Michael Chandler, and the ever-present trilogy fight with Nate Diaz as options. However, in recent weeks one fighter seems to have made a strong case for facing McGregor next: former featherweight champion Max Holloway.
In the lead up to his fight against Yair Rodriguez earlier this month, Holloway repeatedly said that a rematch between he and McGregor was a definite possibility (the two first fought back in 2013 with McGregor winning a unanimous decision), and that is a fight that Kavanagh says would be a good one to run back and that they could do it without the vicious weight cuts that they had for their first contest.
“The funny thing is, I think for guys at Conor’s level and Max’s level and those guys, I don’t even really know why they bother cutting weight anymore, you know?” Kavanagh said. “It’s almost like, just let them fight. Cause I’d imagine Max is probably heavier than Conor outside of fighting. I’ve heard stories of him getting up to really high weight. So, why would they agree to fight and then spend eight weeks trying to deplete themselves, trying to get them down to some weight class to fight for some belt?”
“Max has had a few belts, Conor’s had a few belts. So, they’ve done that. Push that to one side. I don’t know if that’s important anymore. Just have them fight at their weight, whatever their weight is. Just let them do it (laughs). Whatever weight they are, let’s go.”
Of course, Holloway may not actually be available for such a fight as he presumably has a trilogy fight with featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski looming. That’s fine with McGregor as the former two-division champion believes that he will be challenging for the lightweight title in his return fight. Having only won one fight in the past five years, the validity of McGregor’s statement remains to be seen, particularly given how log-jammed lightweight already is with contenders, but even if he doesn’t immediately challenge for the belt, Kavanagh says McGregor will be returning against a top opponent, regardless.
“He’s not so much about warm-up fights,” Kavanagh said. “He seems pretty warm to me as it is. So, what will come, will come. He’s got a hundred opponents lined up it would appear. But let’s just get back training, let’s test the leg and test everything, and when the time comes, I’m sure he won’t be short of choice. Whoever he faces he’ll be highly motivated. It’s clear at this stage Conor has a few quid, he’s got a few dollars in the bank account. So, that’s not the motivating factor at this stage, his motivating factor is competition and to improve himself and to test himself against whoever it is.”
The lightweight title is currently schedule to be up for grabs next month when champion Charles Oliveira puts his belt on the line against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269. Should he win, both Poirier and UFC President Dana White have shown an interest in booking a fourth fight with McGregor.
Groundwork. Nate Diaz calls out Jake Paul’s boxing wins: ‘You’d get smoked in a real fight’.
Between the Links - the last quarterfinal round.
Kamaru Usman going through fan mail ahead of UFC 268.
Chris Daukaus interview as he prepares for his first main event next month.
In case you forgot, Shannon Briggs and Quinton Jackson are doing weird stuff in combat sports.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Ben Askren is primed for a comeback.
Nate is right, I suck at boxing. He sucks at MMA. If he wants me to prove it I can be in the USADA pool tomorrow. Would be happy to be the last fight on his contract.— Funky (@Benaskren) November 23, 2021
Matt Brown has COVID.
Shitty day today I tested positive for covid so my fight next weekend is off— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) November 24, 2021
I was sick af over the weekend but feel better for the most part now. Lost smell today. Did a jog outside today and lungs burned some I thought maybe it was just the cold air but maybe I’m still sick. I’ll get over it quickly and go from there— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) November 24, 2021
Jon has now actually hit his target.
OK 60 days for real now, sucks I messed that up.— BONY (@JonnyBones) November 24, 2021
And Chael being an ass.
Hey DUM-DUM— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) November 23, 2021
It's supposed to be
60 days sober
IN A ROW,
60 days sober since you've been
A fun piece of MMA esoterica.
This meme has been floating around MMA pages for years. I’m the guy on the left. [Thread] pic.twitter.com/5ncfrDZKSG— Tanner Boser (@BulldozerBoser) November 24, 2021
We were like 19 years old in line at a UFC fan expo to get some UFC gloves signed by Wanderlei and Thiago Alves. The photographer was going down the line and taking pictures and told us to put on the gloves and “look tough”.— Tanner Boser (@BulldozerBoser) November 24, 2021
Someone then found this picture a few years later in the UFC Fan Expo picture archives or some shit and made it into a meme. I get why, but I wonder where the creator of this meme is. Own up to it coward! What have you done?— Tanner Boser (@BulldozerBoser) November 24, 2021
The guy in the middle is my brother and he’s a purple belt in BJJ and has a 1-0 pro record in MMA. The guy on the right is Kurtis and he plays drums for a metal band in Edmonton called Tyrant. Probably no ONE in the cards for them but they’re doing their thing haha. https://t.co/iTK5sA1HsR— Tanner Boser (@BulldozerBoser) November 24, 2021
Just a heads up, there will be no Morning Report tomorrow. I hope everyone enjoys the holiday (if you’re stateside) and we will reconvene Friday morning.
On this the eve of Thanksgiving, what is your favorite part of the meal?
This poll is closed
Turkey & Gravy
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Vegetables (Green Bean Casserole, Brussel Sprouts, etc...)