Conor McGregor headlines the UFC event in Boston next week and while the Irish star believes he will win in less than two minutes against Dennis Siver, his coach is confident it won't last that long.
The event has a taken on an Irish feel as McGregor is joined on the card by two of his team-mates from the Straight Blast Gym in Dublin, Cathal Pendred and Paddy Holohan. Cornering all three fighters on the night will be the SBG headcoach and founder, John Kavanagh.
Kavanagh turned his back on an engineering career in the early 2000’s to begin coaching fighters. His first gym was a rented garage with some mats on the floor. Today, Kavanagh’s SBG gym is a massive facility with all the equipment and space the modern mixed martial artist requires.
Kavanagh has spent his life fascinated with martial arts and human movement. He was one of the Irish MMA pioneers travelling around the world to compete and corner like-minded Irish warriors who had outgrown the traditional martial arts.
John is also Ireland’s first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and the first Irishman to gold medal at the BJJ European Championships. This year 25 of his students will follow his example and head to Lisbon at the end of January to compete the championships.
Towards the end of the 2000’s the SBG gym started to become the dominant force on the local MMA scene before moving on to bigger things. Cage Warriors world titles followed and at present there are 5 SBG fighters contracted to the UFC with Aisling Daly and Gunni Nelson added to the 3 names mentioned above.
McGregor has said that he expects the contest with Siver to last only two minutes, but Kavanagh will be surprised if it even lasts that long.
"I don't know I think he's (McGregor) wrong to be honest," he said. "I can't see it go past a minute."
Kavanagh also dismissed any notions that McGregor has his sights set firmly on a potential title match with Jose Aldo, adding that his preparation in the gym isn't tailored to specific opponents.
"Conor is in the gym every day and the prep is the same. By no means are we kicking back in the gym with cigars and whiskey and looking past the next fight and towards Aldo."
We caught up with John as he taught a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class in SBG. We discussed the three fighters in action and of course the potential title fight should… or when as John reminded us, Conor wins in Boston.