John Kavanagh and Conor McGregor

John Kavanagh and Conor McGregor took the MMA world by storm not too long ago. With the brash Irishman running through the featherweight division, and then moving up a weight class and winning the lightweight title, both John and Conor became two of the biggest names in the sport. Since then however, Conor McGregor hasn’t been the best of role models, while John Kavanagh has been focusing on other fighters from SBG Ireland.

Conor’s coach recently opened up about the current state of affairs concerning Conor, and spoke about how difficult it is for the fighters to remain motivated, when they have seemingly achieved everything there is to achieve in the sport. John recently appeared on The Late Late Show in Ireland to talk about various topics, and unsurprisingly, Conor’s name came up.

“He’s just back from the States; he was in Miami for the last few months training”, Kavanagh told Ryan Tubridy (transcript via MMA Fighting).

“I had a small amateur show on Friday night and he showed up. I didn’t even know he was going to be there, he showed up and that was the first time I’d seen him in a while. There had been a couple of texts exchanged back and forth and I’m hoping to sit down next week and see what the plan is.”

“[It had been] months [since I saw him]”, Kavanagh explained. “He had been in Miami taking a break, but also training. Physically, I hadn’t seen him in quite a while.”

The discussion then turned to Conor’s recent retirement tweet, after which he once again started calling out fighters. John explained that for someone like Conor, who has won two world titles, being motivated is the key.

“You know as much as I do”, he replied when asked about McGregor’s short-lived retirement. “It’s funny, when he won the second world title, as a coach it’s almost like a nightmare because he achieved everything he set out to do; he won the world titles, he broke every meaningful record in the UFC, he made enough money to retire a few times over”, said Kavanagh.

“Training MMA for fitness or recreation is fun, but training for professional fighting is very tough, it’s very tough on the body. You’re losing all the desire to do those things because it’s either about winning titles or making money, he done those, so what was going to keep motivating him, to keep putting him through that grind?”

Conor’s ascension to the top of the combat sports world had a positive impact on Ireland and the Irish fans, and John Kavanagh expressed his desire to once again create a positive impact through Conor.

“I do [care], I absolutely do”, he said. “[I care about] the perception of the sport; it’s been around before Conor and it’ll be around after he’s finished with it. I do think, myself and everyone in Ireland that’s involved in MMA, we’re hugely thankful for what Conor has done. He shone a huge light on what we did…but he has made mistakes that I absolutely don’t condone. I know he regrets them, he’s paid for them, he’s trying to learn from them and he’s trying to move on.

“I hope we go back to doing the positive things; the goal setting, the work ethic, going for something that seems impossible. Those are the qualities I love in Conor, that I love talking about when I’m in the kids’ classes…I’m conscious of the fact that I need to set a good example for them and I know Conor does as well. That’s what I want to get back to…the many, many positive qualities that he has.”

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