Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh believes the star’s “obsession” with boxing training cost him against Dustin Poirier.
McGregor famously swapped the octagon for the ring to battle Floyd Mayweather in 2017. Despite losing that big-money match, the 32-year-old was targeting a second foray into the ring against another legend in Manny Pacquiao.
That looked set to take place later this year but appears to have disappeared following the Irishman’s shock loss to Poirier, who he previously beat in 2014, at UFC 257 in January.
“You’re spinning the boxing plate and you realize the wrestling plate is about to stop, so you have to go spin that one, and then you have to go spin the jiu-jitsu one, you have to spin the kickboxing one,” Kavanagh told BT Sport.
“We got a bit obsessed with the boxing one. There was talk of a big boxing fight after that. Our bad, our mistake, our fault – no one to blame.”
With Khabib Nurmagomedov reiterating his retirement last week, the lightweight title is set to be vacated.
And that could open up an opportunity for the winner of the expected trilogy fight between McGregor and Poirier. However, his coach seems determined to get McGregor’s mind firmly focused on MMA should he climb back into the cage instead of boxing.
Speaking about the impact the potential Pacquiao showdown had on McGregor, Kavanagh said: “I describe it as a game of spinning plates.
“We just have to make sure we have to keep spinning that kickboxing plate and all the other aspects of MMA and get ready for the rematch.”
McGregor has yet to confirm when he will be back in the cage, but Kavanagh believes the Irish icon still has some work to do before he returns to his peak.
“We have to fix that technical detail. It’s not like we have to fix everything,” Kavanagh said. “It’s just a small enough area, get that back into the whole game. The knock on him was the boxing mentality going into an MMA mentality.
“Conor was always famous for his movement, his ability to change stances, his bounce as he would say, and we need to bring that all back. It’s there; it’s under the hood.
“It’s not like the skills need to be learned or even relearned. They just have to be reignited and we have to start that process.”