From the moment the first Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor fight ended, McGregor was talking about a rematch. He still hasn’t publicly commented on the post-fight brawl that’s captured the media’s attention. Instead, his social media is full of Proper 12 whiskey plugs ... and this:
Good knock. Looking forward to the rematch.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 7, 2018
McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh confirmed that Conor was serious about a rematch and how it may be the only fight that can get McGregor’s blood going properly. In addition to putting more offense into the training camp, Kavanagh had an interesting idea on how they should handle the whole thing: pull a Rocky.
”Conor watched [the Khabib fight] right away, I hadn’t seen the fight since,” he told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. “I got essays immediately to my phone, ‘We’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do that.’ I was like great, if we’re gonna do it, let’s do it. I would change a few things around even from a training standpoint.”
”We’d have to go ... it’s kind of funny, to use a ridiculous analogy, it’s a bit like Rocky 3. We’ve got this up and coming guy and I wanna go back to get the eye of the tiger, go back and train in an old school gym. Just disappear. Get me, Conor, Artem [Lobov], Peter [Queally], and that kind of crew, and just disappear for three months. Really put in a nightmarish training camp, an oldschool training camp. If we’re going to do it again, that would be my requirement to go do this again.”
”And I see Conor, from the limited amount of chat we had about it, he wants to do it again. And he’s excited to do it because what’s he fighting for at this stage? He’s won some titles. He’s won plenty of money. So with 30 and his second kid on the way, 31 next year. What would be driving him to do this again? It has to be that he wants to prove he’s the best. It has to be to prove to himself and to fight a great fighter like Khabib. So if we’re going to do that, let’s do it and commit to it.”
Now Rocky 3 is apt because that involved a soft, rich Rocky being defeated by the hungry and dangerous Clubber Lang. Rocky comes back at the end to defeat Lang after leaving his celebrity gym full of dancing monkeys and getting back to basics with Apollo Creed. But it was Rocky 4 where Rocky really disappeared back into the wilderness, training with logs and all that really old school crap ... before facing his nemesis in Russia itself.
That sounds pretty good too! Either Rocky they choose to emulate, it’ll be interesting to see the results.
And it still sounds like McGregor isn’t interested in any tune up fights ... or at least that’s how Kavanagh sees it.
”Conor’s just got so much going on in his life, I don’t see him overly enthused to face one of those guys,” he said. “Maybe I’m totally wrong, he might come back to me and say ‘What the hell are you on about, I’ll fight all of those guys.’ Great, okay. I’m up for that. But to get that real fire in him, it reminds me when he lost to Diaz, that real fire that was in him to get the rematch and train like an animal for that and go in and have one of if not his best performance. So if it’s going to be that, it has to be Khabib.”
With Nurmagomedov and his team facing heavy sanctions from the NSAC for their part in the post-UFC 229 brawl (never mind the rift between Khabib and the UFC), it could be a while before we see McGregor back in the cage. Could this lead to more dreaded ring rust? We’d hate to see a good Rocky training camp derailed. The solution? Clearly, McGregor has to fight every 6 months til the Khabib rematch. It’s the only way.