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Morning Report: Coach John Kavanagh says Conor McGregor focusing on an ‘MMA mentality’ for trilogy with Dustin Poirier

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Things seem to be trending towards a trilogy fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor this summer and if that happens, McGregor’s coach says he’ll be bringing a whole different mentality into the fight.

In January, McGregor and Poirier headlined UFC 257 where Poirier avenged a 2014 loss to McGregor, knocking him out in the second round. The loss was the first TKO loss of McGregor’s MMA career and in the aftermath much was made of Poirier’s use of low calf kicks to take away McGregor’s base, which McGregor himself admitted ultimately led to the finish. Now, all signs seem to point towards a summertime trilogy fight between the two and McGregor and his team are excited about the opportunity.

“He is in great spirits. Actually he just sold his spirits so he is in really good financial spirits,” McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh joked with BT Sport. “He is just looking forward, - I’m hoping we can get that rematch done in the summer. I’m not exactly sure, I don’t involve myself in the management side of things but we wanna get that one back. We’ve gotta figure out these fricking calf kicks, how to use them and defend them. We’re pretty confident we have that sorted out now. I think he looked excellent everywhere else so give us a rematch and we have the rematch, I feel.”

While the calf kicks were the dominant storyline coming out of UFC 257, they were far from the only things that fans pointed to as possible contributing factors to Poirier’s upset win. The lack of fans and the atmosphere McGregor brings with him under normal, non-COVID circumstances was one such factor and Poirier credited his own maturity as playing a key role, saying that even if McGregor had attempted to engage him in the “Notorious” brand of mental warfare, it wouldn’t have worked like it did in 2014, something Kavanagh agrees with.

“It definitely has an effect, would it have had enough of an effect to change that fight? I don’t think so,” Kavanagh said when talking about the lack of fans and pre-fight fervor. “Fair play to Dustin and (Poirier’s coach) Mike (Brown) and the guys. Even when he was getting clocked, he got hit a couple of times hard but he still didn’t start getting into a trading war or try and gas himself out trying for takedowns. He had this plan that he had the check hook and they had had the calf kick and they were just going to keep doing it and hope it would work, and it did. I don’t think any amount of pre-fight shenanigans would’ve changed that or any interview requests or any screaming fans.”

One thing that could have changed the outcome, according to Kavanagh, is his team’s preparation. Kavanagh admits that ahead of UFC 257, McGregor and the team probably focused too much energy on purely boxing, both in preparation for Poirier and with their sites set on a lucrative matchup with Manny Pacquiao down the line, and that when it came time to fight Poirier, he was the superior mixed martial artist. Kavanagh says that’s only temporary though as the team has already placed a premium on refocusing McGregor’s skills towards MMA and by the summer time, they hope to show the world what that looks like.

“We have to fix that technical detail, which it’s not like having to fix everything, it’s fixing a small enough area, get that back into the whole game, not going in with a sort of with a boxing mentality, going in with an MMA mentality,” Kavanagh concluded. “Conor was always famous for his movement, his ability to change stances, his bounce as he would say. We got to bring that back. It’s there, it’s under the hood, it’s not skills that have to be learned even relearned, they just have to be re-ignited. We have already started that process. So, wouldn’t it be great to do it again in the summer, maybe in Vegas in front of 20,000 screaming people if we can get the world back open again.”

The UFC has yet to announce any official plans for Poirier or McGregor, however, Poirier has hinted that a trilogy fight is next on the horizon and if it does happen, it would surely be the biggest fight of the year.


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FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Assuming they fight this summer, who wins the threematch?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Poirier
    (603 votes)
  • 32%
    McGregor
    (296 votes)
899 votes total Vote Now

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