John Kavanagh is the coach of UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor, who hasn’t been in the Octagon since UFC 205.
UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson faces Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 223 and Kavanagh believes McGregor should face the winner of that bout.
“So definitely for the first six months I thought everybody would have saw the same as me,” said Kavanagh on The Mac Life. “There’s just a beautiful relationship between Conor and Nate in terms of it’s just a great back and forth with them, outside the cage and inside the cage. It’s a lovely fight. His five round rematch is still one of my favorite fights. That being said, I dd assume that Nate would be as busy or busier than Conor. Conor’s had an MMA fight and a boxing fight since and we haven’t seen Nate since. So I started changing and you could see it amongst the fans who are - I’ve always said and I still believe - are the most important factor in all of this because they pay for the Pay-Per-Views, and that’s what they want to see. But you can see it was clearly becoming they wanted to see either Khabib or Tony in there rather than [Nate], probably for the same reason that we didn’t: Nate didn’t keep busy. So I don’t think it would be quite right for that to happen before the winner of [Khabib]-Tony, because Conor, [Khabib], and Tony have kept busy and Nate hasn’t.”
McGregor may not be the lightweight champion by the time UFC 223 rolls around, as reports have stated that the Irishman could be stripped of the title.
Nate Diaz is another opponent that Kavanagh wants McGregor to fight, but the coach believes that the Stockton native needs to have another fight first.
“I think Nate should get one in in the meantime,” Kavanagh said. “Him vs. Woodley, I hear there are rumors of that or him against a good lightweight, and if the MMA gods smile, it would be a victory for him. Conor fights the winner of [Khabib-Tony] and then you’ve got this amazing superfight for New Year’s Eve.”
UFC 223 takes place on Saturday, April 7 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.