John Kavanagh felt his reputation was on the line at UFC 202, and the SBG Ireland head coach felt the pressure during Conor McGregor’s welterweight rematch with Nate Diaz in the main event.
Kavanagh had become so accustomed to McGregor’s knockout ability that, when Diaz took his best shots and continued to march forward, the Irishman felt ‘terrified’ as the action unfolded.
“You can’t get a heavier shot than that,” Kavanagh said on the latest edition of The MMA Hour, per Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting. “And what does Nate do? Puts his hands out and walks forward. I’m not gonna lie, I was slightly terrified.”
Diaz, who has just one TKO loss on his record, is lauded for his toughness and durability, but seeing the Californian absorb McGregor’s heaviest shots in person really took Kavanagh back.
The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt couldn’t give Diaz enough credit, and said he’s probably the toughest fighter McGregor will ever face in the Octagon.
“For me, I was looking at him just taking these heavy shots and walking forward, smiling,” Kavanagh said. “In my head, I’m going, I’m glad I’m on the outside here. This is insane that Conor has hit him with everything. It’s an incredible ability Nate has. That’s why I think it’s the toughest fight.”
Although Diaz managed to take The Notorious’ best punches and swing the momentum in his favor at several points, the former lightweight title challenger lost a majority decision.
Both men are now tied at 1-1, and McGregor has called for a trilogy fight with Diaz at lightweight. And, although Kavanagh has high praise for Diaz’ toughness, the longtime coach believes McGregor will have an ‘easier’ time getting the finish at 155-pounds.
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