Conor McGregor’s coach says UFC star is ‘very hungry’ for return to action

first_imgShare on Messenger ‘Now just one champion’: Khabib Nurmagomedov takes UFC lightweight title UFC He added: “I supported [McGregor focusing on other business] and I’m fully behind it, but I do see the spark back. I do see him very hungry, coming down to regular jiu-jitsu class and throwing a gi on. Strength and conditioning. There’s a real fire back.”McGregor, already the UFC’s featherweight champion, became the first fighter in the promotion’s history to simultaneously hold titles in two different weight classes when he stopped Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight belt in November 2016.He left the octagon to make his professional boxing debut in a circus-like blockbuster showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr last year, losing by a technical knockout in the 10th round.Nurmagomedov, the unbeaten Dagestani brawler, became the Russian Federation’s first UFC champion in April, when he manhandled and out-struck Al Iaquinta at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to capture the lightweight title forfeited by McGregor due to inactivity. The long-anticipated meeting between the rivals, whose backstage conflagration in Brooklyn this spring resulted in criminal charges against McGregor, would be the organization’s biggest event of the year.Kavanagh is confident in the 29-year-old McGregor’s chances despite a layoff that’s likely to surpass two years by fight night.“It’s a cliche to say, but it’s a classic striker versus grappler,” Kavanagh said. “Khabib needs to get into that clinch, join his hands and start chaining his takedowns together. Obviously, we need to try and prevent that.“I think a lot of people are so afraid of Khabib’s grappling, they don’t engage with him. Conor is a good grappler. I know that will get a lot of people upset when I say that, but watch his fights. There’s plenty of evidence to support that claim. I’m feeling and he’s feeling confident, wherever the fight goes. But [the left hand] will be the difference in the fight.” US sports … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn Read more Share on Twitter Topicscenter_img Share on Pinterest Conor McGregor Support The Guardian MMA Since you’re here… Conor McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday that negotiations are still “ongoing” for the comeback of the UFC star, who hasn’t fought in mixed martial arts in more than 20 months.Kavanagh said he’s “seen the spark back lately” in McGregor and the team is interested in making a lightweight title fight with undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.“I think [McGregor’s energies were] directed at other areas of his life for a while, building up his business world – which is completely justified. We all know the hard luck stories of fighters retiring broke. They get pats on the back and they’re forgotten,” Kavanagh told the network. Reuse this content Share via Email Share on Facebooklast_img

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