Coach reveals Conor's unexpected gameplan vs. Khabib

Thursday, October 11, 2018

It was almost universally believed that at UFC 229 either former champ champ Conor McGregor would knock out UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov early or lose late. However, McGregor brilliant coach, SBGi founder John Kavanagh, appeared recently on the

“I kinda expected round one, for sure he was going to get a takedown," said Kavanagh, as transcribed by Anton Tabuena for BE. "The goal of round one was to get out of it, still having energy. We didn’t want to put a huge amount of effort into trying to get back up in round up. It seems to happen many times with his other opponents, and they were kinda going back to the stool really tired.

“So round one, make him pay, do our best on the way in. Fight as hard as we can, but if we do end up down, which it was against the fence — I figured it would be there — try to stay seated up. If we ended up on the ground, just play guard until the bell. Accept it will be a 10-9 round.”

“For round two, again, same plan. Do as much damage as we can, but if we end up on our back, don’t put a huge amount of effort in trying to getting up. He’s an absolute master at re-grounding people. That turned out to be a 10-8 round. He got some good shots, and obviously he landed that great right hand. So that was a bit more than what we hoped for.

“Round three, things started turning a little bit in our favor. We did a lot better at keeping it in the middle, defending the takedowns.”

“I think at the beginning the consensus was Conor knocks him out in the first, or Khabib takes over from two on. For us to win the third round was probably a bit of a surprise to people. But the Iaquinta fight, if you look at that, from round three and on, he wasn’t able to hit any takedowns.

“We hoped that we could have a go in round three, we can defend the takedowns a lot easier, and start landing our shots. That did happen for round three. Not as well as we planned, not as well as he hoped.

“Then round four, he hit another great takedown, made a mistake giving up the overhook. Exposed the back, and that was all she wrote.”