UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor is sitting at the top of the game of mixed martial arts. The Irish superstar has a UFC lightweight title fight against the lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez coming up on November 12 and has a chance to make history by becoming the first UFC fighter to ever be the champion of two divisions at the same time.
However, “The Notorious” obviously had to start somewhere. McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh recently spoke with Paul Kimmage of the Independent of their first time meeting and how a coach and student relationship was firmly established the very first day they met.
PK: Tell me about the first day (in 2007) he walks into your gym. He had been boxing in Crumlin with Phil Sutcliffe.
PK: And he picks a fight with Owen Roddy.
JK: Well, it was supposed to be a spar, but it was a fight. Owen was the top dog back then and the new guy wanted to test himself.
PK: And you’re watching this with an inquisitive eye?
JK: Of course. Owen had been with me a long time – he was my boy – but this new kid moved in a certain way. He was a southpaw, a good boxer and he just had a way about him that made you go: ‘What’s going to happen here?’ And he caught Owen with a good shot and put him down.
PK: And then he floored Aisling Daly, which was incredible really.
JK: It sounds worse than it was. He wasn’t hitting her in the head or anything, but just happened to throw a body shot that hit her in the sweet spot, the solar plexus, and put her down.
PK: And now the coach is not happy.
JK: I got a little emotional because Ash had been with me a long time and the other guys would look after her. But this new guy had come in and put her down, and my protective nature kicked in. I was still fighting at that stage, or hadn’t stopped that long, so I put the gloves on… actually, he has corrected me on that and says it was bare knuckles. But I held him down and beat the shit out of him, without putting too fine a point on it.
JK: I kept hitting him in the body until he couldn’t breathe and then I looked at him: ‘What’s it going to be? We can train or we can fight?’ And he was OK from the next day.
What do you think about John Kavanagh’s recollection of his first encounter with Conor McGregor? Do you think Conor McGregor would be where he is today if their first time meeting ended up any differently? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section!