John Kavanagh talks the evolution of Conor McGregor: “He’s trying to make himself a better person.”

John Kavanagh, Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh acknowledges major mistakes made by his fighter, but says he is “proud of how he’s come through those things.”

“The Notorious” returned to the UFC Octagon this year for the first time since his UFC 229 loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov. He faced Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in his comeback and bulldozed his way to victory in just 40 seconds of the first round.

His successful return to the sport showed the Irishman is as popular as ever. However, with great success, comes great responsibility. Since making his UFC debut in 2013, the Irish star has been criticised for antagonizing his opponents and his wild behaviour outside of the Octagon. He has also received serious allegations including sexual assault. In 2019, McGregor was found guilty of assault following an altercation in a Dublin pub.

John Kavanagh has mentored Conor McGregor through his meteoric rise, and reflects on the star’s success and mistakes:

“I’m incredibly proud of Conor. I realise it was him individually who has made the sport so well known,” Kavanagh said to RTÉ.

“I get stopped by 60-year-old ladies asking me how his wrestling training is coming along. I know it was him who made it a huge sport in Ireland so I’m very, very proud of that.

“It comes with the territory. Negative headlines get more clicks than positive headlines. That’s just the media game.

“He’s spoken himself about his slips and his mistakes. He’s had to pay for those outside of the sport. I feel we’re on a good comeback story – he had a great win in January – but yeah, like most things in life you take the good with the bad, you roll with it and try to improve, learn from mistakes and get better as a human being and an athlete as you go on.

“It’s a very weird rise from being an unknown guy in Dublin, doing a sport no one has heard of, to being a global superstar. Everything you say and do is analysed.”

John Kavanagh did not specify which controversy[ies] he was referring to, but nevertheless acknowledged the improvements that The Notorious has made. Do you agree with his statements? Let us know in the comments below.