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Coach Kavanagh on setting Conor McGregor straight: 'You're in the gym on Monday or your fighting career is over'

Sometimes a coach has to talk tough to their fighters to get them to listen.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

While Conor McGregor has quickly risen up the UFC ranks to a title shot and MMA stardom, his career wasn't always so clear cut. Back in his teen years he stopped going to the gym and stopped training, to the point that his mother was apparently calling up his coach, John Kavanagh, and asking him to get Conor motivated to get back in the gym again. He did, and judging by the results, it must have been a hell of a phone call. Kavanagh related the story to the Irish Mirror.

"I remember calling up to his house that day. I hadn't seen him in weeks or even months at this stage. He was about 18 or 19. I basically gave him an ultimatum, you're in the gym on Monday or your fighting career is over. Maybe I was a little bit over dramatic with it but I could see how people could slip down that road. So we just had a good chat and in fairness to him, step one is admitting there is an issue and he did that, that day. On Monday he showed up in the gym. So that's how it's changed his life. Thankfully he did it."

He also spoke to how he first got introduced to McGregor and became aware of his star student's potential when he arrived along with Tom Egan:

"I could tell pretty quickly there were both super enthusiastic. If you want to say they were both doing a lot of homework. We would have only a couple of classes a week. They would not only train with me but they were training in Crumlin Boxing gym and meeting up themselves to do their own sessions. Enthusiasm is one of the ingredients becoming a world champion. They were bright, intelligent, loved their sport and asked a lot of questions. They would always say why are you doing it this way instead of that way? I learned to see that a trait of someone who is going to be very good if they question things?"

There's a lot more in there, including Kavanagh's focus on building fighters over the long term and how he encourages them to stay active on social media, as well as a look at some of the other notable athletes training over at SBG. So, check out the whole thing over here.

If you want to hear about the man from the man himself, here's Conor McGregor's Day in Dublin, with Ariel Helwani: