John Kavanagh has been Conor McGregor's coach and for long enough to know when his trainee is ready for a fight. He undeniably probably wouldn't have recommended Conor move up two weight classes to fight Nate Diaz at UFC 196 unless he thought he could pull it off.
Because of this, I think it's important to take his (and his trainer John Connor's) words seriously. And he's not blaming the weight gain for the loss.
Here the two men are a few weeks ago, before McGregor had gone down to Nate Diaz...
During a recent appearance on The Manual podcast, McGregor’s strength and conditioning coach, John Connor, assured observers that the fighter’s weight had little to do with his first UFC defeat.
“Conor fought at the weight that he walks around at – always,” said the trainer.
He also added,
“This is when he got into movement, this is when he got way more into strength and conditioning. And if you look at his body – his body has transformed a lot since then. And his big thing is that, you look at, his arse is bigger, which is more power, his hamstrings are a lot bigger, and his lower back is a lot bigger”.
“When he came in to the Dublin fight[against Diego Brandao in July 2014], he was probably the biggest he had been in his career to that point”.
“He’s kind of sat at that weight since then”.
He said the added weight didn't have a big affect on the outcome.
“So, he weighed in at 168[prior to UFC 196]. So you’re talking 76 kilos. He was probably 1 or 2 kilos heavier than he was fighting in Dublin, fighting in Boston, fighting in Vegas against Poirier, I wasn’t there for July against Mendes so I don’t know, Aldo again it was probably the same. So he was only 1 and a half, maybe 2 kilos heavier than he was in those other fights”.
The conditioning expert, who also works with Northern Ireland’s super-bantamweight boxing star Carl Frampton, added that McGregor was actually the fittest he had ever been heading into UFC 196.
“We did more fitness work for this because we could. Because he was so tight at the weight for 145, we always had to be careful what we did because we couldn’t do too much. Because we didn’t want him putting on size, because it just makes it harder to get down there”.
“He was at his peak condition going into that fight”.
Lastly, he said, "“You load up and you get tired." That was his stoic and short explanation for the loss.
You can check out the interview with John Connor below.
What do you think?
Did the weight gain play a part in Conor's loss at UFC 196?
(Via: Pundit Arena)