Conor McGregor’s head coach predicts his next opponent, timeline for return

Damon Martin
MMA Weekly
Conor McGregor UFC 229 Official Weigh-in
Conor McGregor UFC 229 Official Weigh-in

Conor McGregor may have been defeated at UFC 229 but he's not giving up hope that he could beat Khabib Nurmagomedov if they met again.

That's why the former two division champion immediately asked UFC president Dana White for a rematch against the undefeated Russian just minutes after he suffered a fourth round submission loss last Saturday night.

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White wasn't ready to commit to a second fight between McGregor and Nurmagomedov at the time but he might have a different idea now that UFC 229 reportedly sold more than 2.4 million pay-per-view buys.

When it comes to matchmaking, McGregor's head coach John Kavanagh doesn't really try to get involved. That said, Kavanagh knows what McGregor wants and so that's what he believes will ultimately be next for him.

"I won't pretend to understand the business side of things," Kavanagh said when speaking on the Joe Rogan podcast. "Him and [his manager] Audie [Attar] and Paradigm, they do all of that and the fans somewhat and the officials decide who gets the next shot, I only deal with what's going to be put in front of me. I think it will be the Khabib rematch.

"I think it will be that. I'll be getting torn apart on Twitter 'he doesn't deserve this' — I'm only saying what I think. I don't really know but that's what I see him talking about so that's how my mind is."

The disdain shared between McGregor and Nurmagomedov certainly didn't go away after their fight ended last weekend.

Just moments after Nurmagomedov got the win, he leapt over the cage in an attempt to attack McGregor's training partner Dillon Danis, who was reportedly shouting at him following the conclusion of the fight.

A brawl broke out with McGregor then getting into a separate altercation with three of Nurmagomedov's teammates inside the cage and now everybody involved is facing potential sanctions from the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Still the end result for all of that madness was the most lucrative pay-per-view in UFC history and a rematch would undoubtedly do massive business for everybody involved.

As far as the timing for McGregor's return — against Nurmagomedov or another opponent — Kavanagh looks ahead at two possible landing spots that would make a lot of sense.

"I was looking at March 16. Patty's day is March 17. That's a Sunday, March 16 is a Saturday," Kavanagh teased. "Imagine [Madison Square Garden] the night before Patty's day. That'd be insane.

"There's the big summer card as well. You have [International] Fight Week, the July card. I think probably next summer is realistic."

McGregor's return will be hugely profitable for the UFC no matter who he faces but it's clear he wants a second shot at Nurmagomedov. Now it's up to the UFC to decide if that's what's best for business when McGregor returns in 2019.

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