Conor McGregor’s coach makes a huge statement
CONOR McGregor has completed his last heavy sparring session ahead of his UFC return and been showered with praise by long-time coach John Kavanagh.
With McGregor's welterweight bout against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone 17 days away, the Irishman put the finishing touches on his preparation with a New Year's Day spar in Ireland.
Fair to say that Kavanagh was impressed.
"Can honestly say this is the best I've seen him and I wasn't sure that was possible to do six months ago," he tweeted. "You guys are in for a real treat."
Jan 1st, last heavy spar today before going to Vegas. Can honestly say this is the best i've seen him and i wasn't sure that was possible to do 6 months ago. You guys are in for a real treat, i'm just glad to have a good seat! #UFC246— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) January 1, 2020
McGregor has fought just once - a submission loss to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov - since November 2016.
Cerrone, one of the most active fighters in UFC history, has made the walk 11 times over that time span.
The 36-year-old has lost his past two fights, to 155-pound contenders Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, but has more wins and more finishes than any fighter in UFC history.
If McGregor can get his career back on track with a victory, his next move remains unclear.
Nurmagomedov meets Ferguson for the lightweight championship in April, but that match-up has fallen over so many times it's not out of the question to think McGregor could be a late replacement for either man.
If the Russian and the American both make it to the cage, McGregor may turn his attention to 170-pound star Jorge Masvidal, even though UFC president Dana White thinks he should wait and fight the winner of Nurmagomedov-Ferguson.
"Conor gets p***ed off when I say (fighting Masvidal) is a bad idea. He's like, 'You think I can't beat Masvidal?'," White told ESPN.
"I'm not saying that you can't beat Masvidal, anybody can beat anybody on any given day, but why? Why go after that fight when you could possibly just wait?
"This is the reason that Conor McGregor is so intriguing and why so many fans love to watch him fight. And you've got to love the fact that a guy is willing to fight anybody."