Conor McGregor ‘tighter than ever’ with trainer John Kavanagh ahead of Donald Cerrone fight

Irishman ‘drifted apart’ from his long-term coach after defeat by Khabib Nurmagomedov

Conor McGregor faces Donald Cerrone on 18 January in Las Vegas
Conor McGregor faces Donald Cerrone on 18 January in Las Vegas

Conor McGregor‘s trainer John Kavanagh admitted the pair “drifted apart” following the UFC star’s dramatic defeat by Khabib Nurmagomedov.

McGregor will return to the UFC stage for the first time in 15 months when he faces veteran Donald Cerrone in Las Vegas on 19 January.

The Irishman distanced himself from the sport following the loss as he focused on his whiskey business and “other goings on”. However, Kavanagh insists the pair are now “tighter than they have ever been”.

“We drifted a bit; he had a lot going on in his life with his whiskey business and other things going on, and my team was getting busy with a lot of new fighters joining,” Kavanagh said. “That was a natural thing that happened but the last couple of months have been fantastic. I feel we are tighter now than we have ever been so I’m feeling good.

“He kept showing up and I wondered whether he would be able to do the type of training required again because, let’s call a spade a spade, he’d made a lot of money and it’s hard to go running when you wake up in silk underwear.

“But he did, he kept training and pushing himself hard and not just talking about, but showing that he wanted to compete at a high level again.”

Kavanagh also insisted McGregor will return to the octagon as an improved fighter compared to the one who famously tapped out against Nurmagomedov in his last bout.

“It’s absolutely an improvement in skill set, he’s the best fighter technically I’ve ever seen,” he added. “If you think about it, what you need to get better at something is time and he’s trained longer than he’s ever done in his life because he’s had another year of training.”

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