Conor McGregor’s coach liked what he saw from his fighter in the first round of his fight at UFC 264.
John Kavanagh believes a prior injury could have played a role in Conor McGregor’s first-round stoppage defeat to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264.
Kavanagh revealed that McGregor had a pre-existing ankle injury heading into the trilogy and that it could have been a factor in the Irishman’s gruesome leg break on Saturday night.
“A little bit of that ankle injury had been aggravated during camp,” Kavanagh told Laura Senko during a recent Instagram Q&A (h/t MMA Junkie). “We got a scan on it. Did that have a small part to play in weakening it? I don’t know. We were (with a doctor) a couple weeks ago to get a scan on the ankle. … There might’ve been something in there. It would seem unusual that a young, healthy, fit man could wrap his foot around an elbow and (break it) without there being something (wrong) there before. You can play those guessing games all day long.”
McGregor was losing the fight prior to the stoppage but Kavanagh believes ‘The Notorious’ would have finished ‘The Diamond’ in the second round with a couple of minor adjustments in between rounds.
“It was going fantastic,” he said. “I thought he looked really, really good in there. … I wasn’t concerned at all. I was actually really, really happy. … At the 4:30 mark or even the 4:45 mark (of Round 1), everything is gravy. I thought energy looked good, technique looked good. A few adjustments in between rounds, and I thought Round 2 we were well on track to getting a finish there, or keep the rhythm going for the rest of the fight.”
Kavanagh credited Poirier for the win but is understandably frustrated with the result and would like to see a fourth fight between Poirier and McGregor for closure.
“Credit to Dustin. He won. It’s an unfulfilling end to the night. … It doesn’t feel properly finished. (There was no) closure.”
McGregor underwent surgery on Sunday and plans to ‘build back’ and return to the UFC stronger than ever. The former two-division champion is 1-3 in his last four fights and hasn’t won in the octagon since his 2020 TKO victory over Donald Cerrone at UFC 246.