Conor McGregor: Hunger or Control?
There have been many encouraging reports about Conor McGregor as he winds down his preparations for his return to action against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone later this month.
McGregor, with the hunger and desire apparently back, and looking better than ever in training, the signs look good for McGregor after a troublesome time of late.
But there are also words from John Kavanagh which might have put at least some doubt that UFC 246 will see the beginning of a new era of dominance for McGregor.
In an interview with The Mac Life, Kavanagh said:
‘Conor knows more about fighting than the rest of us put together. With Conor’s fighting IQ, with Conor’s understanding of the game, really, this training camp is about all of us getting out of his way.”
It seems rather bizarre and concerning that McGregor is seemingly setting the tempo and structure of his training camp.
I’ve never been a lover of the fighter being in charge of his camp, it gives the impression that the fighter thinks he knows more than his team, and that he knows better, or maybe even a loss of confidence with those around him.
If this is indeed the case here, then there is much cause for concern. After the loss at UFC 229, Kavanagh wanted McGregor to do an old-school type of training camp for any future comeback after a reportedly problematic one for the fight with KhabibNurmagomedov, but I’m not convinced that is what has materialised.
I do think McGregor should have some say, especially when it comes down to listening to his body. But the coaches should always set the structure of the camp, if not why are they not doing so, questions surely need to be asked.
I’ve mentioned in a previous article about my concerns that McGregor is facing Cerrone at welterweight.
From what we saw in the fights with Nate Diaz, I don’t believe welterweight is his optimum fighting weight. The power doesn’t seem to have the same effect and even when he was being conservative with his energy, he appeared to badly gas in the rematch, this despite spending a fortune in his preparations as he became obsessed with revenge.
In the same interview, Kavanagh said the fight is at 170 because McGregor didn’t want to do the weight cut. But he later said he could make lightweight no problem, a decision which he may regret.
Kavanagh when asked about his prediction for the fight said he expected it to go late, and cited the extra weight as the reason for this view.
McGregor is obviously testing the welterweight waters for a possible third-weight UFC title as well as keeping his options open for the rematch against Nurmagomedov. But I wonder if come January 19th he will be regretting not having the Cerrone fight at a weight which he is clearly more suited to.
With McGregor there always seems to be some little side story, and until I see what version of McGregor we see in Las Vegas I am yet to be convinced there will be more glory nights for the former two-weight UFC champion.
But there is also that chance we are reading too much into what Kavanagh said in the interview, and that his words about McGregor being in his best ever shape are a more accurate assessment of what we will see at UFC 246.
The Cerrone fight will tell us plenty, the first steps on the road to more history or the sad end of the McGregor story.