The coach of UFC star Conor McGregor, John Kavanagh, is known for his calm and amiable persona but unbeknown to most he was a fairly savage presence in the cage himself in his day.
The Straight Blast Gym operator was one of the earliest exponents of the sport in Ireland and the first to be handed a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Some old footage has been bouncing around of the 41-year-old Dubliner in action in a Cage Warriors event. Using his well-noted grappling skills, he manages to haul his opponent to the ground and submit him with a choke.
Kavanagh the coach has been doing the media rounds in the USA as he spent some time on that side of the Atlantic following his fighter McGregor’s loss in the Lightweight title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in Vegas.
He sat down with Ariel Helwani at a Bellator event to chew the fat and has a few ideas for what he would have done differently in preparation for that bought if he’d had his time back.
“If I could go back, maybe the mentality was a little too defensive,” Kavanagh said.
“Conor’s a very offensive fighter and when his time to land was there - and we did have opportunities - it wasn’t there the way it was in the Eddie [Alvarez] fight, for example. The Eddie fight was off a big training camp for Diaz 2, which was off a big training camp for ‘Diaz 1’. So we had a lot of cage time."