clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Midnight Mania! Conor McGregor’s coach admits UFC 229 mistake: ‘We trained not to lose’

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight ...

MMA: UFC 229-Nurmagomedov vs McGregor Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Conor McGregor didn’t quite look himself in his UFC 229 main event against Khabib Nurmagomedov. He suffered his first-ever knockdown in UFC competition, getting tagged hard in the second round. Even when he managed, after a round of control and a round of punishment from the Dagestani champion, to keep the fight standing in the third, he couldn’t seem to put together shots that would hurt Nurmagomedov. Several observers noted that his left hand was a noticeably absent factor. He won the third round, the first UFC round Khabib has unanimously lost, but wasn’t able to come close to hurting his indefatigable opponent.

This was McGregor’s first fight since his rise to regional stardom in Ireland where he didn’t manage to find the range with his left hand for even one flush shot. Whether that was due to Khabib’s deceptively acute attention to striking defense, the threat of his wrestling or McGregor’s fatigue from getting wrestled and beaten up by Nurmagomedov in the first two rounds, wasn’t immediately clear.

John Kavanagh, his head coach, made an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience today. He said McGregor is angling for an immediate rematch and when Joe Rogan asked if the lopsided nature of the fight would make it hard to sell, Kavanagh suggested that their preparation may have been partly to blame. See around 1:11 for the exchange:

I do think Round 3 showed promise. I would like to have changed things up a little bit. Specifically, a more offensive mindset. I thought defensively we did quite well, but offensively, we weren’t really where we usually are. Right when the fight was over, I was thinking, you know what, I was kinda going into this not to lose, but not to win. His shots weren’t as crisp as they normally are. He had opportunities to hit him, especially in the third round, and he just ... seemed to be the range ... something was off.

Kavanaugh admitted that cage rust might have been a factor, despite bringing in unfamiliar sparring partners and imitating the fight night experience to try to get Conor re-acquainted with the feeling.

Now that the dust has had a chance to settle after the fracas, does McGregor deserve an immediate rematch, or, as Rogan and Kavanaugh agreed, should he take a tune-up fight first?


Who should McGregor face next?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Khabib Nurmagomedov
    (718 votes)
  • 24%
    Nate Diaz
    (837 votes)
  • 6%
    Dustin Poirier
    (227 votes)
  • 26%
    Tony Ferguson
    (911 votes)
  • 14%
    Jose Aldo
    (507 votes)
  • 7%
    (264 votes)
3464 votes total Vote Now


Derrick Lewis, who now has a million followers and will no doubt get more after he goes on the Joe Rogan Experience, is making the most of his UFC 229 victory.

View this post on Instagram

True story

A post shared by Derrick Lewis (@thebeastufc) on

Chris Pratt was roughly as excited as I was when Derrick Lewis got that KO. The neighbors were pounding on the walls wanting me to be quiet.

Kung Fu bullfighting?? Every time you think you’ve seen it all, you realize you have not.

What a perfect Nurmagomedov meme.

Two lightweight champions clashed in the cage on Saturday night in an instant classic, and Joe Rogan is right to celebrate Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson and Anthony “Showtime” Pettis.

Many have caught blame for the after-melee at UFC 229, but it truly is remarkable that so much slipped straight past everyone standing in the Octagon and around it.

Daniel Cormier celebrates his teammate, Khabib.

Boxing hasn’t gotten any better than this.

Khabib’s father had the best response to his... lack of discipline.

Dana White didn’t take criticism for how he handled the promotion of UFC 229 well ... at all.

freeze frame, tape scratch

View this post on Instagram

“It all started 2 years ago when...” sound on

A post shared by KEENAN CORNELIUS (@keenancornelius) on

Israel Adesanya took another route with the meme:

Is McGregor referring to the brawl afterward as “the battle”?

Khabib is a happy man. From his Instagram:

Fraternal, even now you are slowing down, otherwise I’m uncomfortable for you myself I told you, on October 6, I’ll tell you everything, or did you really want to beat me there?))) I apologize to everyone I hurt with our common victory✊️ And my sincere Fans - you are just a space thank you for your incredible support, I love you, yours truly - Habib Nurmagomedov. #ThereCity #VoResAhl

McGregor takes losing pretty well compared to most mixed martial artists.

View this post on Instagram

I’ll be back.

A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

The guy who attacked McGregor in the cage can kiss his fight with Artem Lobov and his UFC career goodbye.

This boxer Naoya Inoue looks lethal!

Another look at that fan knockout after the fight.

KSW also went down over the weekend, in Poland, to violent end:

Nate Diaz rolling out with his crew ...

Random Land

This is very satisfying:

This is very funny

Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania