McGregor coach: What Khabib did, who cares, but his teammates are another story
Conor McGregor's coach, SBGi founder John Kavanagh, appeared recently on the Joe Rogan Experience and discussed the UFC 220 post-fight melee. Khabib Nurmagomedov vaulted over the Octagon and appeared to attempt to leap on a member of McGregor's camp. Then McGregor too appeared to attempt to vault the fence, and appeared to take a poke at a member of Nurmagomedov's camp, Dillon Danis. Then McGregor appeared to get sucker punched by two men without honor.
“I hope the NSAC is lenient on [Nurmagomedov],” said Kavanagh, as transcribed by Jose Youngs for MMA Fighting. “Not just so we can get a rematch. I just love watching him fight. I can stretch myself to understand his reaction. I can’t stretch myself to understand [his teammates] reaction. For Khabib, it’s not the end of the world.”
“[Danis] actually didn’t say anything. I was standing beside Dillon. I didn’t see what he did but I could hear. He didn’t say anything. When I watched it back I could see him beckon [Nurmagomedov] on. It’s just stupid end of fight stuff. But it didn’t justify that level of response. Maybe there was something else in the build up. Dillon is a little bit of trouble online. But, like I said, it wasn’t that big of a deal to me what Khabib did. It just really wasn’t.
“Like I said, if Khabib had done that isolated, I didn’t think it was a big deal. He didn’t really hit Dillon. There was a bit of pushing and pulling. Who cares? But a man coming up, a trained fighter with bare knuckles, hitting a guy who’s tired, who’s taken some rounds and taking some shots, there has to be ramifications for that. An example has to be made. ...I t’s criminal. It’s assault.”
The aftermatch unfortunately outshone a riveting fight, and coach wishes there was a do over.
“If there’s one thing I could change it’s I was too defensive in my mindset,” said Kavanagh. “Khabib has very specific types takedowns depending on where he is. Depending on whether he’s shooting on the single single in the middle and then on the fence. Long before Conor took to the fight, I loved watching [Khabib]. That’s kind of my area is the fence. I loved - from the Randy Couture days - how to use the fence. Khabib does it to a new level.
“One of the takedowns he hit on Conor he hadn’t actually done until the Iaquinta fight. So it was nice we kind of got to see that. I could see a little bit of [Daniel Cormier] in that high crotch and then tripping the far leg. I think Conor blocked it once but he did catch him with it. So they’re very specific takedowns.
“I do think Round 3 showed promise. Like I said, I would have liked to change things up a little bit, specifically a more offensive mindset. I thought defensively we did quite well. But offensively were weren’t really where we usually are. Right when the fight was over, I was thinking I was going into this not to lose but not to win. Conor’s shots weren’t as crisp as they normally are. He had opportunities to hit him, especially in the third round. Something was off.”
McGregor wants a rematch.
“That’s all I’m hearing from [Conor],” said Kavanagh “I understand Tony [Ferguson] has earned the title shot. But I understand this is a business. The rematch between [Conor and Khabib] would be a huge fight.”
The NAC says they hope to have the sanctions determined by the end of November.