Shortly after winning the UFC lightweight title with a beautiful, second-round knockout of Eddie Alvarez, Conor McGregor set his sights on a game-changing boxing match with semi-retired boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. Whether this fight actually happens is still very difficult to say, but it remains the Irishman’s singular focus.
McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh, however, would prefer to see his student stick to mixed martial arts. In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Kavanagh outlined his preferred next steps for his star pupil.
“I’ve said it before – the Nate [Diaz] rematch interests me a lot because it’s 1-1 and [because of] how the styles match up,” Kavanagh said (via FoxSports). “Almost on par with that, not much difference, will be the winner of Khabib and Ferguson this weekend. I think Khabib does it, so I think Khabib will be the winner. So Khabib will be the match-up out of that.”
“Below that would be GSP [Georges St-Pierre],” Kavanagh continues. “Purely because GSP was an incredible fighter, [I’m a] big fan of him, I’ve learnt a lot from watching his fights, but it’s a long time since he’s fought and the game changes very, very quickly and I think Khabib is sort of like a better version of GSP. Although we don’t know, it’s hard to tell how GSP and Khabib would match up. But yeah, MMA-wise, Nate or almost on a par winner of Khabib-Ferguson.”
Whether a McGregor-Mayweather battle happens or not, however, Kavanagh believes the Irishman will eventually unify his title with the winner of this weekend’s UFC 209 interim lightweight title fight.
“I find it hard to imagine not seeing that,” he said. “You know, even with Conor getting the — if and when the Mayweather fight was to happen and he got that out of the way — I know, like myself, I do believe his true love is free combat sports and there is no freer combat sport than mixed martial arts and he is the UFC lightweight champion.”
“He did only win it a couple of months ago, so he is the lightweight champion. So I can’t imagine him not fighting the winner of that [Nurmagomedov-Ferguson]. We gotta see what happens with the Mayweather talks and all that, but yeah I do believe that will happen, yes.”
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This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/2/2017.