Fans haven’t seen the Irish superstar fight inside the Octagon since UFC 264 in July 2021 when he broke his leg fighting Dustin Poirier in a trilogy match. Kavanagh, McGregor’s longtime coach, was featured on MMA Fighting’s “The MMA Hour” on Monday and he provided an update on “Notorious.”
And in short, Kavanagh is extremely confident that McGregor will return to fighting in 2023.
“I’d be willing to bet my house on it,” Kavanagh said. “I was actually just chatting with him yesterday or the day before and then [his manager] Audie [Attar] was in town.
“Yeah, I think there’s some interesting negotiations going along now. I absolutely can’t say anything beyond that, but I’m very, very confident that we’ll see Conor back in the Octagon this year.”
McGregor has kept himself busy inside the gym while rehabbing his leg, and he recently made his acting debut in the upcoming “Road House” remake starring Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
McGregor Needs to Find Opponent That Is ‘Massively Motivating’ to Him, Kavanagh Said
There will be no shortage of potential opponents for McGregor when he decides to compete. Whether he returns to welterweight or lightweight, McGregor is consistently called out by fighters, considering he is the biggest name mixed martial arts has ever produced.
For Kavanagh, he wants Notorious to choose a combatant that will be “massively motivating” — someone who McGregor will be willing to put his lavish lifestyle on hold for so he can go all-in on training.
“I’m asked this so often and I have to be honest when I say I really don’t mind,” Kavanagh said about who McGregor should fight next. “What matters to me is that, let’s say I’m seeing Conor this week and we’re chatting and he says a few names and I see a name particularly gets the eyes open, particularly gets his pacing up and down the living room and showing me what he’s going to do and what he’s not going to do. That would be absolutely the most important thing for me, is that it’s a name that’s going to excite him.
“Because for Conor, for training for this next fight, he’s definitely got to find something that’s massively motivating to him to get him out of the silk pants and into the sweaty gym. What’s it going to be? A couple million more? Is that really going to motivate him? I don’t think so. He has a couple championship belts. Is that it? I don’t think so. So I think it’s more going to be a particular opponent, a particular skill set and how it matches up against him.”
Kavanagh Named Nate Diaz, Justin Gaethje & Michael Chandler as Possible Fights for McGregor
Kavanagh then provided names as possible targets for McGregor, specifically Michael Chandler, Justin Gaethje and Nate Diaz.
“You’ve got the great Nate Diaz is obviously in there,” Kavanagh said. “Justin Gaethje would be a very interesting matchup, somebody he hasn’t fought before. The [Dustin] Poirier fight, we’ve done that so many times at this stage and it’s just a weird one. Michael Chandler, a great fighter, a great athlete. They’re all brilliant. They’re all going to bring something different to the contest.
“What I would be looking for would be the one name that gets Conor moving. Gets him off his stool, gets him moving around and gets him excited. Some of the names I’ve heard him mention it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I’d fight him,’ but if I see that level of lack of interest, I’d be nervous that won’t get him through 12 weeks of being in a very tough environment where if it’s a name that is exciting then training is fun and training is easy.”