Last Saturday night, in the main event of UFC 229, former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor returned to the Octagon after two long years away, as he attempted to reclaim the UFC lightweight belt from undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Unfortunately for McGregor and his dedicated team, this mission didn’t go as planned.
Instead, the Irish MMA star was soundly walloped en route to a fourth-round submission loss. Although he was able to steal a round from Nurmagomedov — something nobody has been able to do in a long time — it was not enough, and he’ll now have to return to the drawing board.
Speaking on the Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show, John Kavanagh, Conor McGregor’s head coach, divulged that he regrets the game plan they developed for the fight. In his eyes, the game plan was too defensively minded when perhaps it should have been the opposite.
“I do think Round three showed promise,” John Kavanagh said of Conor McGregor’s performance (transcript via MMAMania). “I would like to have changed things up a little bit. Specifically, a more offensive mindset. I thought defensively we did quite well, but offensively, we weren’t really where we usually are. Right when the fight was over, I was thinking, you know what, I was kinda going into this not to lose, but not to win. His shots weren’t as crisp as they normally are. He had opportunities to hit him, especially in the third round, and he just seemed to be the range… something was off.”
What do you think of John Kavanagh’s assessment of the big fight? Do you think a different game plan would have benefitted Conor McGregor against Khabib Nurmagomedov? Join the conversation in the comments below.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/9/2018.