UFC: Conor McGregor's coach's next pick ready to fight Irishman

Conor McGregor made a sensational comeback to the octagon when he demolished Donald Cerrone at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 246 last Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It was the Irishman's first fight in 15 months, but he took no time to show that he had lost none of his ruthlessness when he knocked out Cerrone in 40 seconds in round 1.

The Notorious last fought in the octagon in October 2018 when he lost via submission to arch-rival Khabib Nurmagomedov. After serving a suspension for a brawl post-fight against Nurmagomedov and recovering from a broken hand, he decided on making a comeback against Cerrone.

McGregor's coach John Kavanagh is already looking towards the Irishman's next opponent after his dominant win in Las Vegas. The former UFC two-division champ's coach wants McGregor to remain in the welterweight class and take on Justin Gaethje, who fights in the UFC lightweight division.

Kavanagh wants both the fighters to fight in the welterweight division without having to cut weight. He wants McGregor to fight in the 170-pound class with a view to preparing to challenge for the title in the 155-pound class in the future. He believes the only reason the Irishman should cut weight is if there is a belt involved.

"Justin Gaethje at 170," Kavanagh said, as quoted on Bloody Elbow. "That would be my personal preference ... because he's another lightweight. Neither of them has to cut weight and the goal – I'll be careful with my words here – the kind of vision is to get that 155-pound belt back so it's a step towards that."

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"I don't see the reason for him to cut weight unless there's a significant – there has to be a belt on the line," Kavanagh added. "Otherwise, why would he do it? So yeah, stay at this weight, don't cut weight and then when the big one comes along, shed the last 15 pounds."

Meanwhile, Gaethje took a jab at McGregor claiming that the Irishman could be willing to fight him now that he has got the comeback win, he was looking for. McGregor is yet to respond to the Arizona-born fighter, but it is likely to arrive sooner rather than later.

"Ultimately that dude makes his own decisions, and I think he has more confidence now," Gaethje said, as quoted on MMA Fighting. "He needed a win. So yeah, I think he'll fight me now."

This article was first published on January 24, 2020