The coach of UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor, John Kavanagh, was a recent guest on Ariel Helwani’s popular show “The MMA Hour“.
Coach Kavanagh discussed McGregor’s UFC 196 submission loss to Nate Diaz and gave his take on what went wrong for the Irish superstar.
John admitted that Nate Diaz was more efficient with his strikes but also added that Conor was putting to much effort in to trying to knockout the ‘Stockton slugger’ with his heavy left hand.
Coach Kavanagh claims that although the opening round seemed like a big success for McGregor, it was also very concerning to see his fighter throwing and missing so many big left hands:
“Yeah, a lot of things were working,” Kavanagh said during an appearance on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I did think that he maybe was loading up a little on his left hand, especially when you’re facing a same stance fighter. Nate’s kind of good at using that shoulder roll that boxers do to defend themselves. A lot of big lefts that weren’t catching him flush. They were kind of bouncing off his shoulder, or Nate was moving with the shot so weren’t having the impact they’d have on an opposite stance fighter or someone who wasn’t as highly skilled as Nate.
“But still, some good shots landed. He did get taken down by a single leg by Nate, but I thought Conor did very well, he executed a nice sweep and was taking the guard, almost passed and landed some good shots. So, all in all, it was a good round. I imagine the judges gave that round to Conor. I can’t see how it would have went otherwise.”
In between rounds, John suggested to Conor that he take a little heat off his left hand and try and focus more in just landing some clean shots:
“That was pretty much all I said between round was, you don’t have to take him out with one shot, no need to load up on that big hand,” he said.
“If there was something to critique or take away from that fight, I think Conor almost immediately said it much better than I’m able to say, is that he was inefficient with his job and Nate was efficient. And that’s what I was trying to get across, and that’s what we saw happening. He kind of blew himself a little bit trying to take his head off with every single left hand rather than just landing it. Maybe I could have stole his own phrase and told him to keep it flowing.”
As we all know by now, Nate Diaz ended up submitting Conor via rear-naked choke in the second-round of their UFC 196 main event bout. Coach Kavanagh is confident that his star pupil will learn from the loss and come back even stronger.