John Kavanagh's brilliant verdict on Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather in UFC

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor

The MMA world is on tenterhooks as Conor McGregor prepares to make his return on January 18.

Almost 15 months have passed since 'Notorious' was defeated by Khabib Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas, tapping out after becoming locked in a neck-crank during the fourth round.

That shot at the UFC lightweight title had seen McGregor return to the octagon after 18 months and such a doomed comeback had led many to hypothesise that he would never fight again.

In fact, many thought his 2016 victory against Eddie Alvarez would be his last and the jury is still out on whether the Irishman can ever recreate the magic he mustered in New York.

But one thing that McGregor has certainly done in the four years since is generate money and nothing earned him a larger pay cheque than his unexpected foray into boxing.

McGregor vs Mayweather 2

Besides, who can forget his bout with Floyd Maywether in August 2017?

In hindsight, there shouldn't have even been a debate about who was going to win, but that ounce of doubt had millions of people around the world buying the pay-per-view on fight night.

So, there would certainly be an appetite for a rematch and Mayweather has flirted with the prospect of returning the favour by trying his hand at mixed martial arts.

'Money' has cooled the idea since the days of him jogging into the octagon for Paddy Power, but quotes from Dana White resurfaced recently to get fight fans wondering again.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor

'Maybe Dana is praying for Mayweather'

According to Aaron Bronsteter, White proclaimed that McGregor vs Mayweather 2 in the octagon would be one of his two dream fights to make.

So, naturally, we decided to put the quote to McGregor's coach John Kavanagh to gain a reaction from within the Irishman's camp on the idea of an MMA rematch with Mayweather.

And after giving a pantomime laugh down the phone, Kavanagh told GIVEMESPORT: “The idea of that match-up is just so ridiculous. Dana is a funny guy.

"I see he posted a picture in the Vatican, maybe he went there to ask the Pope to pray for Mayweather.”

Brilliant.

Mayweather might be able to buy himself a few seconds with his legendary boxing skills, but it would only be a matter of time before McGregor hacked him down with leg kicks.

David Benavidez v J’Leon Love

That's not to mention the absolute calamity that would ensue if McGregor took him to the canvas.

Say what you like about Mayweather - and trust us, there's a lot you can say - but he's always been a savvy businessman and even he, surely, wouldn't see dollar signs at the thought of a rematch.

If there's one thing that stops Mayweather from leaping headfirst towards the cash, it's the idea of losing his unblemished record and that would be guaranteed the moment he stepped into the cage.

McGregor vs Khabib 2

So... the other fight that made White's list: the Nurmagomedov rematch.

It's mooted that Nurmagomedov will hang up his gloves if he dispatches Tony Ferguson in April, but McGregor could become a late replacement if the fight falls through for a SIXTH time. 

UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor

Is Khabib truly 'trembling'?

The Irishman is prepared to stoop down to lightweight once again and try to exorcise the demons of the only UFC loss he's been unable to avenge.

In truth, the original bout was pretty conclusive - hence Nurmagomedov's disinterest - but McGregor remains the only fighter to ever take a round off him, so there is scope for revenge.

And when I asked Kavanagh if Nurmagomedov will have seen anything from the first fight to cause doubt, he definitely believed there were anxieties they could exploit second time around.

“I believe the third round is the first round that Khabib has lost in his career and that can cause doubt in a fighter if you’ve had your way the whole time and then somebody has taken a round off you," the 42-year-old explained.

“I think we can build on that and maybe win more rounds to win the fight in a future rematch.”

UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor

McGregor returns vs Cerrone

McGregor was starting to show flickers of his pre-hiatus best during that third round, but his striking was still that extra second behind compared to his Alvarez and Aldo displays.

However, before any rematches with Mayweather or Nurmagomedov are discussed in great length, McGregor has Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone to get past.

While Cerrone isn't the toughest fighter McGregor has faced on paper, you have to wonder whether the move up to welterweight and cage-rust will take from that legendary left hand.

If McGregor can't find a home for his signature punch, then you can expect to see the fight go long and the experienced head of Cerrone will have a box of tricks for his returning opponent. 

UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor

Can McGregor make a winning return?

But no matter how the fight pans out, you can be sure that millions of fight fans will be tuning in, either baying for blood or glory.

It's been almost four years of defeats for McGregor both in and out of sport, so who better to target than 'Cowboy' to get himself back in the saddle?

BT Sport Box Office will show Conor McGregor’s return to the Octagon, exclusively live on Saturday 18th January, as he takes on Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. UFC 246 will cost just £19.95 and can be watched on BT TV, Virgin TV, Sky, online via the web or the BT Sport Box Office App.

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