McGregor’s Coach: ‘Ring rust is an excuse for those who do this part-time’
Fans all over the world are waiting to see Conor McGregor make his return to the Octagon for the first time since last August. And while he has been criticized for his seemingly overnight superstardom, McGregor’s long time coach, John Kavanaugh feels that McGregor has put in the work to not only return as the man people loved from his debut, but to exceed the skills and expectations of that man. Even after injury, surgery, and a year-long lay off, he thinks that the Conor McGregor we will see in the cage against Diego Brandao will be a brand new animal.
“I believe it’s right what he’s saying: Ring rust is an excuse for those who do this part-time,” Kavanagh explained.
“Now I look at Conor sparring, I look at him moving around. I actually recently watched his fight with Max Holloway about a week ago; I hadn’t looked at it since August and I watched it again. He actually looked very basic in that fight compared to who he is now. I said to Conor, if you get in the ring with that Conor, he’s not going to survive a round with you. His grappling his improved hugely, and in that fight I thought he was experimenting with a lot of new kicks. Now he’s mastered them. He’s knocking out people with them rather than just trying them.
“If you look at his teammate Gunnar Nelson,” he added, “I actually thought he came back looking a lot better than when he left. He took almost a year off after his knee surgery, and during that period he worked a lot on his stand-up.
“In his last fight … I thought his stand-up, his understanding of range, had shot through the roof. He hit the guy with one punch, went down and guillotined him in the first round.”