Conor McGregor’s coach has opened up on what happened at UFC 264 on Sunday after the Irishman suffered a gruesome broken leg.
McGregor was taken away on a stretcher from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas after going down at the end of the first round in his trilogy fight with Dustin Poirier.
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The world wanted a deciding bout as the ledger between the two stood at 1-1 after Poirier’s convincing win in January, but fans were robbed of the contest they craved when McGregor’s bone gave way.
The Notorious had a five-word message for the world after the setback, channelling his inner Scarface as he posted on social media: “You need people like me.”
Pundits have questioned whether this may be the end for McGregor, or if he’ll ever be the same dominant force he once was.
Kavanagh took to the Wimp2Warrior Instagram page to give a lengthy interview about every aspect of the fight and what the future holds.
The post-fight interview
McGregor was in agony, sitting down in the Octagon with his back against the cage as he received treatment in the minutes after the fight was called off.
After interviewing Poirier, UFC commentator Joe Rogan sat down next to McGregor and asked for his thoughts on the fight, sparking a furious response from the clearly emotional 32-year-old.
After a week of dragging Poirier’s wife Jolie into their feud, McGregor took another shot, telling his rival: “Your wife is in my DMs.”
McGregor also said “this is not over” and was already demanding a fourth fight.
He came under heavy criticism for his petulant outburst, but Kavanagh said it wasn’t right to force him into an interview after what had just happened.
“His foot is literally hanging down. It’s a clean fracture of the fibula and tibia, it went straight through, the foot’s hanging down,” Kavanagh said.
“You can only imagine the rush of hormones and what’s going on in your body, the pain, it was on fire. And then someone sits down and sticks a microphone in your face. ‘How are you feeling about the end?’
“Come on. Come on! When has he ever not been graceful at the end? Let’s get backstage, let’s get a proper assessment from a doctor. Let’s get an X-ray.
“So I was pretty miffed at the idea of sticking a microphone in his face at that point.”
Conor McGregor is on the road to recovery.Source:Getty Images
Kavanagh told Wimp2Warrior during camp he and McGregor focused a lot on guillotines, believing Poirier was susceptible to them, but he shook off the Irish fighter as the attempted grappling missed the mark.
“I knew Dustin’s head would be there for the guillotine. So we had drilled that a lot. Conor has a very, very strong guillotine. A slight tactical error going to the back with it,” Kavanagh said.
“As somebody who likes guillotines myself, the temptation to try and throw that leg over the back and just get the finish is very, very strong, and Conor was the one in there, he must have thought the grip was right and he went for it. That’s what fighting’s about, he went for it. Dustin did an incredible job getting his leg over to the right side of his head to relieve the pressure.”
The ground and pound
McGregor said immediately after the fight he was “boxing the bleeding head off him, kicking the bleeding leg off” when asked to assess the opening exchanges with Poirier.
Plenty of commentators disagreed with that assessment because Poirier did the most damage with a powerful barrage of ground and pound, but Kavanagh wasn’t worried about the punishment his fighter was copping.
“Conor had no marks, no bruises, swelling, cuts, anything like that. So most of it was parried, but for sure that was Dustin’s moment,” Kavanagh said.
“So all and all up until that point, let’s say four and a half minutes, I wasn’t concerned at all, I was actually really, really happy.
“At the four-and-a-half minute mark, everything’s gravy. Energy looked good, technique looked good. A few adjustments between rounds and I thought we were on track to getting a finish there or at least keep going, keep the rhythm going for the rest of the fight.”
Kavanagh says the injury occurred when he landed a kick gone wrong.Source:AFP
Poirier said he felt McGregor’s injury when he checked a leg kick early on, but Kavanagh believes it happened when a kick later in the round caught the American’s elbow.
“He very aggressively threw that kick. Dustin shelled with that lead hand, and the foot wraps around the elbow,” the coach said.
“Conor wrapped his shin around the elbow. He stands back on it and you can see the bone almost protrude through the skin. I don’t know how he didn’t fall there.”
Kavanagh also revealed McGregor entered the fight with an existing ankle injury, but wasn’t sure if that contributed to how things ended.
“We’d gotten a scan on it. Did that have a small part to play in weakening it? I don’t know,” Kavanagh said.
“There might have been something in there. It seems unusual that a young, healthy, fit man can wrap his foot around an elbow without there being something there before. But you know, you can play those guessing games all day long.”
Kavanagh is confident there’s more to come from McGregor.
“He truly loves this and it’s hard to imagine him not wanting to come back, not wanting to do this again. Because we really just got this fantastic rhythm,” he said.
“He’s turning 33, which to me is a peaking time where strength meets conditioning and mental and physical and spiritual maturity, everything’s coming together. I think we have a couple of years of this ahead of us.”
Will he be back?Source:Getty Images
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