John Kavanagh wants Conor McGregor to agree to 'old-school training camp' for Khabib rematch
"I can't imagine Conor going off into the sunset on the back of a loss."
The text messages were pinging between Conor McGregor and John Kavanagh in the hours after 'The Notorious' lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229.
Kavanagh was getting "essays" from his fighter about what he would do differently in a rematch with the UFC lightweight champion. McGregor had done well to win the third round after eating some big ground-and-pound shots in the second but he was forced to submit after tiring then tapping out in the fourth.
Kavanagh paid credit to the "incredible" Nurmagomedov when he joined Ariel Helwani on Ariel & The Bad Guy. He feels McGregor could benefit from going on the offence more against 'The Eagle' if a rematch was booked.
'Eye of the Tiger'
He mentioned former lightweight champions Anthony Pettis and Tony Ferguson (interim) when discussing other potential 'Top 10' opponents but it is clear to him that Nurmagomedov is his focus. Kavanagh has one requirement if he is to commit to coaching McGregor for another huge fight in the UFC.
Kavanagh replied to McGregor, "'Great, if we're going to do it, let's do it', but I would change a few things around.
"Even from a training stand-point, we would have to go... it's kind of funny - and to use a ridiculous analogy - it's a bit like Rocky III. We had this up-and-coming guy and I want to go back and get the eye of the tiger.
"Go back to this old-school gym and just kind of disappear. Get me, Conor, Artem (Lobov) and Peter (Queally) and that kind of crew, and just disappear for three months. And really put in an old-school training camp; a nightmarish training camp.
"If we are going to do it again, that would be my requirement to go ahead and do this again. And I see Conor, from the limited amount of chat we've had, he wants to do that again, and he's very excited to do it again."
As Kavanagh posited, what is McGregor fighting for at this stage? He has won plenty of titles and money and has a second child on the way. "[The drive] has to be that Conor wants to prove he is the best.
Asked if that training camp would take place away from the likes of Dublin, and the United States, Kavanagh agreed. McGregor and Kavanagh have travelled to Iceland and Portugal for past training camps and both of those locations will be considered again.
"If we are going to do it," Kavanagh added, "let's really do it and let's commit to it."