Conor McGregor made the biggest move of his career in 2017, landing a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.
He may have lost the fight, and it may have distracted from his run as a champion in the UFC, but there is no denying that the boxing match with Mayweather altered the direction of McGregor's life forever.
It is believed that McGregor will have earned somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million from the Mayweather vs. McGregor spectacle. By almost every measure, it was one of the most successful one-day sporting events in history. It also set McGregor on the path to numerous other business ventures outside of the Octagon and his fighting career.
To McGregor's longtime coach, John Kavanagh, it was a wonderful distraction, but he sees things shifting back to the world of mixed martial arts for McGregor. At least, that is going to be the direction for which he lobbies.
With the financial success of Mayweather vs. McGregor and the landscape in the UFC shifting quickly, McGregor has taken some time to get his feet back under him.
“I’m just happy to see him back to his regular training. He had a lot going on in his life, a lot of stuff outside of fighting going on in his life, and he seems to be getting the hang of all that. He’s back training almost every day now,” Kavanagh said in a recent interview with BBC. “I think 2018 will be another big year for us. Exactly what that is, I don’t know yet. The plan is forming, but as they say, stay tuned.”
Although there has been a lot of chatter, even from UFC president Dana White himself, about stripping McGregor of his UFC lightweight title and having interim titleholder Tony Ferguson battle Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed belt, McGregor's coach is unwavering.
“Conor’s still the champion. They can say what they want. I have his belt at home actually. He’s still the champion. He’s making the decision on what makes sense for the next move,” Kavanagh continued.
“It’s kind of early days yet, we’re just watching how that has developed while he’s been away, he’s had other things on. Let’s see what happens in 2018, I’m excited about it anyway.”
Having his charge make it 10 rounds with a former world champion that was 49-0 going into the fight was no small feat for Kavanagh. After all, it was McGregor's first professional boxing match.
Even if Mayweather says that he carried McGregor through much of the fight, the fact is that there were two men in that ring, and the fight went into the 10th round before Mayweather could do enough to force the referee to wave off the fight.
As much of a feather in Kavanagh's cap as that fight was, he is ready to return to where it all started for him and McGregor.
“If you want to know my opinion, I'll be pushing very hard for MMA. The boxing was a nice detour from what we've done, but mixed martial arts is my passion,” he declared.
“So, if I have anything to do with it, he'll be in the Octagon this year.”