John Kavanagh, Conor McGregor's head coach, has a lot of pressure on his shoulders going into the UFC 202 rematch with Nate Diaz. Not only is McGregor's record on the line, but so is Kavanagh's reputation.
But like any good coach, he's confident in his student's abilities.
"I’m veering towards a fourth-round finish in his favour," Kavanagh wrote in his blog for the42.ie. "Following an opening three rounds which I expect him to dominate in the same manner he did in the first frame of the previous fight."
That's a little odd because McGregor says he will end it in the second, but really that's apples and oranges I guess.
"There’s no comparing this training camp to any we have done previously," he wrote. "I can’t stress enough how different this has been. As many of you will probably already know, routine hasn’t been something you would have associated with Conor’s preparations in the past."
McGregor faced Diaz once before, on just about two weeks notice. McGregor had been poised to face Rafael dos Anjos at 155 pounds before dos Anjos became injured. Diaz stepped in, but the bout was set for 170 pounds. That's a full 25 pounds heavier than McGregor normally fights at.
"We’re learning about this art as we go along," he wrote. "The way we’re doing things now is the right way. I strongly believe that will manifest itself in Las Vegas."
McGregor faltered and was submit via second round rear-naked choke and he and his coach are determined to have a better outcome this time around.
"While we have spent a long time — four or five months now — preparing for this rematch, we’ve been working on only a handful of techniques," he wrote. "That includes some new techniques I’ve been working on with Conor which he hasn’t done before, so you can expect to see a thing or two that you haven’t before. I’m confident that this will change the landscape.
"There can be no excuses here if we don’t get the result we’re pursuing. The preparation has been flawless."