John Kavanagh has had the best seat in the house throughout the years, as he’s watched and guided Conor McGregor to the pinnacle of mixed martial arts.
The head coach of the Straight Blast Gym in Ireland has been the mastermind behind the Notorious’ success since his Cage Warriors days, and McGregor has remained loyal to his team by having them in his corner as he prepares to battle Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Kavanagh would have been extremely proud when McGregor claimed the interim featherweight championship, before knocking Jose Aldo out to become the undisputed champion and then eventually followed that up by making history when he defeated Eddie Alvarez inside of Madison Square Garden to become the lightweight champion too.
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Something that’s often forgotten about amidst Kavanagh’s brilliant success as a coach is that he too has competed in mixed martial arts before it became the phenomenon it is today, but he seems to be happy with having some huge names under the SBG banner in McGregor and Gunnar Nelson in the UFC, and the likes of James Gallagher and Dillon Danis in Bellator.
Now, rare footage has emerged of Kavanagh in his younger days competing in MMA.
As you’ll be able to see in the video below, the youthful Kavanagh stepped into the cage to take on Tamel Hasar back in 2002, heading into the bout with a 1-1 record.
It turns out Kavanagh is just as good inside of the cage as he is on the outside giving orders, as he smothered Hasar from the get-go after a brief exchange of strikes before taking him down to the canvas.
Eventually, Kavanagh got the win relatively easily after submitting Hasar with a rear-naked chokehold to pick up his second victory at the Cage Wars 1 event.
Kavanagh was clearly a submission-based fighter, which seems the complete opposite of the most famous fighter in his gym, as all three of his wins came via submission.
He defeated Leighton Hill with a triangle choke, a rear-naked chokehold put away Hasar while Robbie Olivier submitted to an armbar.
Despite the fact that he looked good inside of the cage, he didn’t have the most decorated of records to boast about, as he also picked up three losses in his career, suffering one knockout loss, one via decision and was also submitted for the final loss of his career.
It turns out turning his back on competing back in 2003 was a brilliant decision, as his sole focus on coaching some fantastic athletes has made him one of the most well-respected coaches the game currently has to offer.
What do you make of John Kavanagh’s performance in the video above? Have YOUR say in the comments section below.
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