John Kavanagh admits where they went wrong in the build up to UFC 229 3 years ago

John Kavanagh admits where they went wrong in the build up to UFC 229

It's all well and good in hindsight...

SBG coach John Kavanagh has been talking all things MMA and Conor McGregor with UFC commentator Joe Rogan on his podcast JRE (Joe Rogan Experience).


Conor McGregor fell to a crushing defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov on his return to the UFC on Saturday night, and if truth be told the Dubliner did not look as sharp as what we are used to seeing him.

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Kavanagh addressed the fight at UFC 229 and what he would do differently, citing that he had gone too defensive in the build up to McGregor's return.


"If there's one thing I could change it would be that I was too defensive in my mindset for this training camp.

"But, Khabib has very specific types of take downs depending on where he is, whether it's shooting on the low single in the middle and on the fence.

"Long before Conor was due to fight him I loved watching him, that's kind of my area is the fence, I just love right from the Randy Couture days, how to use the fence and Khabib does it to a new level."

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Despite the fact that his fighter lost on Saturday, Kavanagh was full of praise for Khabib and lauded a specific take down he used against McGregor that he felt came from his long time training partner and "champ champ" Daniel Cormier.

"One of the take downs on Conor, he hadn't actually done it until the Iaquinta fight.

"It was nice that we got to see that high crotch, I see a bit of DC (Daniel Cormier) in that, the high crotch and then the trip on the far leg. He did block it once, but he did catch him with it.

"So you know, there's very specific take downs, definitely for this training camp was the most specific that we went." 


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Kavanagh highlighted that McGregor is calling for a rematch and has been since the fight ended, and he believes that if they were to do it again then the focus would shift.

"He's screaming and shouting for the rematch within minutes.

"I do think round three showed promise. I would've liked to have changed things up a little bit, specifically a more offensive mindset. I thought defensively we did quite well."

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The SBG coach admitted that on the night, McGregor lacked that usual spark we are used to seeing, but Kavanagh felt that was because they had focused on defensive strategies too much.

"Offensively we weren't really were we usually are, and you know right when the fight was over I was thinking, I kind of went into this (trying) not to lose and not, to win.

"His shots weren't as crisp as they normally are. 

"He had opportunity to hit him especially in the third round, but something was off."

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When pressed by Rogan as to whether McGregor looked off due to his two years without an MMA fight, Kavanagh totally accepted that ring-rust may have played a part in the defeat.

He highlighted that they tried to recreate a fight setting in the gym, but ultimately that isn't possible.


"Absolutely, of course, of course. 

"We tried to mimic as close as we could in the gym, I brought in guys that he didn't know and I would say this is fight day,

"He would do exactly what he would do on fight day to get that feel, but it's still the gym."