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Midnight Mania! McGregor’s coach still wants Nate Diaz; Khabib ‘a lot more straightforward’

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John Kavanagh, Conor McGregor’s head coach, says that, though he is aware fan consensus has settled on terrifying Dagestani interim lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as McGregor’s next foe, he would still prefer a trilogy closer with Nate Diaz. The argument he presents put great stock in his pupil’s abilities, and see Nate Diaz as a more interesting stylistic challenge for ‘The Notorious’. Transcript from MMANYT.com via MMAFighting.com:

“Nate Diaz is my favorite fight, by the way,” Kavanagh said. “If I could pick a fight for the next one it would be that trilogy. I realize it’s not the fan-favorite. The fan favorite, without a close second, is the Khabib fight, but for me, it’s the Nate Diaz rematch and I think the Khabib fight is a lot more straight forward.”

Kavanagh, who was in an interview with Robin Black, further elaborated, claiming that Diaz is a ‘bigger guy’ and saying he was gifted with ‘freaking Homer Simpson head’, making a knockout nigh-impossible, and the fight much more interesting.

”For me, he had already lost to him, it’s a bigger guy, Conor’s skill set is shutting people’s consciousness off and he’s impossible – a freaking Homer Simpson head, he just keeps moving forward,” Kavanagh said. “Conor’s bravery in [the fight], I’ve seen Conor fight a lot of people that he’s able to walk through and that’s great, it’s fun and you raise a belt, but it doesn’t it doesn’t really excite me that much, not really. But that fight, if you’d been around him, by the time he’d got backstage [after losing the first Diaz fight], we were watching that night, and then the next morning he was not off the phone until Lorenzo and Dana said that would be his next fight.”

As crazy as Kavanagh sounds, he might have a point in terms of in-cage excitement; a Nurmagomedov-McGregor fight seems to shape up as either McGregor dictating the bout standing up or Nurmagomedov dominating on the ground. There isn’t much overlap in their skill sets to meet in the middle, the way he did with Nate Diaz, and slug it out.

McGregor’s first UFC loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 forced him to make extraordinary adjustments and fight against type, efforts that proved just enough to win him a majority decision at UFC 202, in an all-time classic MMA rivalry. Like Kavanagh, I would love to see the pair complete their trilogy, but as he acknowledges, Nurmagomedov cannot be ignored.


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