Sports Coach: McGregor gearing up for UFC return, hoping to fight Khabib

18:56  05 july  2018
18:56  05 july  2018 Source:   thescore.com

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John Kavanagh, the coach for Conor McGregor, said the former light heavyweight champion has taken his workouts to another level recently in preparation for a UFC return.

"I really have seen the spark back lately," Kavanagh told Brett Oklamoto of ESPN. "I think that was directed at other areas of his life for a while, building up his business world - which is completely justified. ... I do see the spark back. I do see him very hungry, coming down to regular jiu-jitsu class and throwing a gi on. Strength and conditioning. There's a real fire back."

McGregor hasn't appeared inside the Octagon since November 2016 when he defeated Eddie Alvarez via TKO. Since then, he's built up his business profile, lost a boxing match to Floyd Mayweather Jr., and was arrested after attacking a bus full of fighters prior to UFC 223.

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► Conor McGregor : Insider gives update on UFC return and when Khabib fight will take place ► The promotion’s former lightweight champion hasn’t set foot

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Kavanagh said McGregor and his agent are working to set up a fight with current light heavyweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. The UFC was reportedly close to announcing a blockbuster bout between the two stars in April, but McGregor's bus incident derailed those plans.

McGregor, 29, was stripped of the light heavyweight title at UFC 223 due to his prolonged inactivity.

"It's a cliche to say, but it's a classic striker versus grappler," Kavanagh said of a potential matchup between McGregor and Nurmagomedov. "Khabib needs to get into that clinch, join his hands and start chaining his takedowns together. Obviously, we need to try and prevent that.

"I think a lot of people are so afraid of Khabib's grappling, they don't engage with him. Conor is a good grappler. I know that will get a lot of people upset when I say that, but watch his fights. There's plenty of evidence to support that claim. I'm feeling and he's feeling confident, wherever the fight goes. But (the left hand) will be the difference in the fight."

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