"We’ve never focused too heavily on opponents" - John Kavanagh opens up about McGregor's rescheduled bout

In his column for The42.ie, Kavanagh gave his thoughts about McGregor's newest opponent, Nate Diaz.

"We’ve never focused too heavily on opponents" - John Kavanagh opens up about McGregor's rescheduled bout

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

As Conor McGregor's quest to become the UFC's first two-weight world champion, held consecutively, is put momentarily on hold, coach John Kavanagh opened up on the impact Rafael Dos Anjos' withdrawal has had on McGregor and their training camp.

In his column for The42.ie, Kavanagh explained that, akin to last time around when Jose Aldo was forced to withdraw from a bout with McGregor, the Irishman isn't focusing too much on his opponent's strategy, but rather his own.

"I’m sure people have heard me saying this before, but we've never focused too heavily on opponents at Straight Blast Gym and this situation is yet another justification of that philosophy" explained Kavanagh.

"When this happened previously, we went from fighting a kickboxer to a wrestler. Now, the switch is from a stocky grappler with some hard kicks to a tall boxer. You must be ready for every type of opponent."

McGregor will now face Nate Diaz at Welterweight (170lbs) rather than the scheduled Lightweight (155lbs) because Diaz says he will not be able to drop the weight. He had originally asked for a catchweight of 165lbs.

Conor McGregor celebrates after defeating Jose Aldo and becoming the undisputed UFC Featherweight champion in December. Image: John Locher / AP/Press Association Images

"On Tuesday morning, a few other names were put forward as potential replacements. The response from Conor was as you’d expect: “It doesn’t matter, they’re all the same.”

Kavanagh also made a slight at Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo, who refused to take the fight with injury or on too short notice.

I did find it somewhat interesting, however, that Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar both turned it down. I seem to recall them insisting quite recently that they were willing to fight Conor “any time and any place”. Obviously they forgot to mention that 5 March in Las Vegas was an exception.

"Back in September, Conor said something significant at the UFC’s ‘Go Big’ press conference. He told every contender from 145lbs to 170lbs to stay ready because it’s not uncommon for his opponents to pull out. There’s a pattern emerging that one fighter pulls out, another fighter steps in and then it’s passed off as being a short-notice fight. It’s not."

Kavanagh says there is a "lesson to be learned" for fighters who truly want to face McGregor.

"If you want to fight Conor McGregor, get ready — even when someone else has got the gig. There’s only a handful of names who could have received the call, so they should have been ready. There’s a lesson to be learned here for any guy who genuinely wants the opportunity.

"In a time when so many fighters are unwilling to compete due to a wide variety of little issues — not enough notice, minor injuries etc. — Conor’s mindset is unique. He could have walked away from this without consequences but that never came into consideration.

"In order to widen the search for an opponent, he committed to fight as high as 170lbs and that was it. That’s two weight classes up from his last fight, which only happened a couple of months ago. It’s a mindset that hasn’t been seen before and I doubt we’ll see it again."

Via The42