Things changed in a big way for Conor McGregor at UFC 194. McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo to become UFC featherweight champion and the Irishman cemented himself as one of the biggest stars in the sporting world.
With great power, though, comes great responsibility.
McGregor’s long time coach, friend and mentor, John Kavanagh, says the two almost drifted apart as ‘The Notorious’ changed his training schedule and began showing up to SBG Ireland at 10 or sometimes 11 p.m.
"No tension," Kavanagh said to Ariel Helwani in studio on The MMA Hour, per MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi. "No bad feelings or anything like that. It's just like, ‘Oh, I guess that's how he's doing it now.' He's the champion of the world. He just beat who some say is the best ever in 13 seconds. What am I gonna say?"
After UFC 196, however, when McGregor was choked out by Nate Diaz in the main event, a new training regime was implemented and McGregor and Kavangh restored their bond.
"That doesn't seem to be working," Kavanagh said. "I'm not gonna repeat a process that doesn't work and expect a different outcome. And we went back to scheduled sessions, routine, and look what happened a short period [after]."
"Conor's life has obviously gotten pretty wild over the last couple of years," Kavanagh said. "Not that it was by design, but we did kind of drift a little bit. And we realized that and we spoke about it after the contest and we just kind of made a pact to go back to how it was when we went to Sweden for the first time."
Things seemed to work out, as McGregor came into his UFC 202 welterweight rematch with Diaz with a new focus, and beat the Californian via majority decision.
McGregor will now challenge Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title in hopes of becoming the promotion’s first simultaneous two-division champion at UFC 205. The pay-per-view takes place this Saturday, Nov. 12, at Madison Square Garden in New York.