Conor McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh has revealed the fighter wrote him an essay on everything he did wrong – after knocking out Jose Aldo for the world featherweight title.
And he even predicts The Notorious will be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger and forge a career in the movies after his UFC days are over.
In a revealing interview into his work with dad-to-be McGregor, 28, John said the UFC star is the most self-critical fighter he’s met.
It wasn’t always like that though – in the early days, McGregor would often think about packing it in after losing in the octagon – with Kavanagh having to “drag him down from his house”.
Kavanagh, 36, told the Irish Mirror: “Like any sport there’s a sell by date. But Conor is 28, he’s a baby in the sport.
The Irish Mirror's Siobhan O'Connor spars with TV3's Glenda Gilson under the instruction of Conor McGregor's coach, John Kavanagh (Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.)
“I look at Bernard Hopkins who’s 50, winning world title fights so Conor isn’t going anywhere soon.
“I predict once he’s done in the sport he will disappear. People think he likes the limelight, he doesn’t. He just likes fighting and promoting fights.
“Who knows maybe he’ll go to Hollywood and become the next Schwarzenegger.”
The coach, who put MMA on the map in Ireland, has had many highlights in McGregor’s corner but he says the ultimate was in New York.
He said: “My highlight was Madison Square Garden knowing that we were in the same changing room that Muhammad Ali got ready in. Just the history there and New York in general.”
Speaking about his winning formula, he added: “When I meet someone in sport or business I’m always interested to find out, how did they get over their biggest loss?
“I’ve had plenty of losses and failures but it’s about what you do with them. You don’t see a loss or a failure as a reason to quit you see it as an opportunity to learn.
“Conor and I have done that since day one. We’ve had plenty of losses in the cage but we use them to improve ourselves, come back and have plenty of wins too.
“Certainly at the beginning if Conor had a loss he would treat it as a reason to quit and I’d have to drag him down from his house.
“But that doesn’t happen anymore. You see him at his last loss, as soon as the fight was over he was analysing what he did wrong.
“He was humble in defeat. We got back in the gym, got ourselves a four- month plan and showed the world what we can do with a loss.
“If I have a fighter and after a win they go on a bender for four-and-a-half weeks, I forget about them. They’re wasting my time.”
Speaking about McGregor’s dedication he said: “I always use this story that when Conor beat Aldo to unify the 145 level, he argues it was an 11- second fight but it was 13 seconds on the record book, one punch and it was over.
“But he’s the most self-critical fighter I’ve ever met, and that night we went out for a bit and when we came home he wrote me an essay on everything he’d done wrong. It was only a 13 second fight.”
As Ireland’s first MMA fighter John is known as the godfather of the sport and revealed the future is bright for many of his up-and-coming protegees.
He said: “I’m always asked who’s the next McGregor?
“James Gallagher from Strabane is in a lot of people’s minds the next Notorious, but he’s his own man, I want all my fighters to have their own personalities.”
The coach will be the first in MMA history to be in Madison Square
Gardens twice in a row, adding: “I’m going to be in both of them so I’m very proud of that.
“I’m walking out with James, it’s amazing what he’s been able to do.
“But it’s great what Conor did, he opened the door for a lot of fighters but now they have to find their own way.”
Speaking about the dangers of the MMA sport he said: “It’s like when people talk about the dangers of MMA and compare it to boxing, well you know what sport’s a lot more dangerous than MMA or boxing or rugby? No sport.
“We have a bigger problem of obesity for our next generation affecting thousands of people.
“Yes, at a higher level like in rugby there’s a lot of dangers that go with the sport, but it’s a hell of a lot more dangerous doing nothing.”
Kavanagh kicked off the first in the series of Lucozade Sport’s ‘Made to Move Sessions’ designed to champion active lifestyles.