John Kavanagh prefers Nate Diaz trilogy next for Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor, John Kavanagh, Khabib Nurmagomedov

As the UFC’s lightweight championship picture continues to take shape, the road back to the Octagon for former featherweight and lightweight champion Conor McGregor also seems to be taking shape. Back in March while doing a Q&A with fans McGregor said he feels he owes it to Nate Diaz to have a trilogy fight, but that idea was recently shut down by Diaz himself.

When Conor McGregor does decide to return his head coach John Kavanagh has a preference as to what opponent he wants his fighter to face first, and it’s the trilogy fight with Nate Diaz. Speaking to Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Kavanagh spoke about his preference wanting Diaz as McGregor’s next opponent, saying it’s something he’s wanted for a while.

“I always loved the Diaz trilogy, I’ve kind of said that from the start. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Nate looks in his fight coming up [against Anthony Pettis]. That would be just as a fan, very exciting. Justin Gaethje kind of reminds me of that similar style, you know he can take a tremendous amount of punishment and keep coming forward. Honestly if it’s Conor excited, motivated, and pushing himself hard, it doesn’t really matter all that much to me. Anybody in the UFC that Conor McGregor would be fighting are good opponents, they have different challenges. If you put a gun to me, it would be the Diaz trilogy.”

As Kavanagh lays out who he’d like to see McGregor fight in his return, he also told Helwani that he’d like to see the former champion come back motivated.

“I really want to see him motivated. You probably saw the Tony Robbins interview where he spoke about losing that for a bit. This is a game where it’s full-on, it’s full-contact, it’s dangerous. When he won the second belt, [beating Eddie Alvarez] he achieved everything he set out to achieve. He was very wealthy, he was world champion, so you got to sit down and take some time and think what’s going to motivate you to do it anymore?

He said himself that became a bit of a problem, you know like what is it? Is it get another belt, is it make some more money? I think what has come back around, it’s the love of the sport. He loves doing it, he loves training, he loves competing. And legacy, that he’s remembered being one of the best, if not the best ever. So that’s what has really come back to him since the beginning of the year. That’s what I wanted to see. He’s obviously a very well-known student of mine but he’s also somewhat like a kid brother, I wouldn’t want to see him doing something just for the sake of doing it and maybe getting hurt or whatever cause he’s not fully there.” said John Kavanagh. “Now he absolutely is. We’re having a lot of deep conversations about technical sequences and training regimes and so on, it really reminds me of his rise and to see that again is exciting.”

While Nate Diaz is preparing to fight Anthony Pettis at UFC 241 in August, his recent comments to Ariel Helwani make it seem that he is not interested in a trilogy fight with Conor McGregor. Diaz did say he was done fighting in the lightweight division, focusing on welterweight, which is there both fights against McGregor have taken place.

Do you think we will see a trilogy fight between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz? If so, do you believe it’ll happen at welterweight?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/17/2019