Conor McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, appeared recently on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour and discussed a period of increasing distance between the two after Conor KOed Jose Aldo in 13 seconds at UFC 194 in December of 2015.
McGregor apparently entered a rockstar phase where he slept late and didn’t start training until 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. Kavanagh, who opens the gym at 9:00 a.m. would sometimes be leaving as McGregor entered, and the two would simply nod.
“No tension,” said Kavanagh, as transcribed by Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting. “No bad feelings or anything like that. It’s just like, ‘Oh, I guess that’s how he’s doing it now.’ He’s the champion of the world. He just beat who some say is the best ever in 13 seconds. What am I gonna say?”
Then McGregor ignominiously tapped to Nick Diaz at UFC 196 in March. At the afterparty, over a whiskey, McGregor initiated a heart to heart with his coach.
“That doesn’t seem to be working,” said Kavanagh. “I’m not gonna repeat a process that doesn’t work and expect a different outcome. And we went back to scheduled sessions, routine, and look what happened [in] a short period.”
McGregor beat Diaz in a rematch at UFC 202 in August.
“Conor’s life has obviously gotten pretty wild over the last couple of years,” said Kavanagh. “Not that it was by design, but we did kind of drift a little bit. And we realized that and we spoke about it after the contest and we just kind of made a pact to go back to how it was when we went to Sweden for the first time.”