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Coach Kavanagh on McGregor: It feels like ‘we’re almost cheating’ going into UFC 202

Conor McGregor’s longtime coach, John Kavanagh, feels their training preparation for UFC 202 is on another level.

UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor Gym Day Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

SBG Ireland head coach John Kavanagh has pulled out all the stops for Conor McGregor’s training preparation ahead of UFC 202.

Kavangh and McGregor, who are known for their somewhat spontaneous training regimes, were forced to reassess things after ‘The Notorious’ lost to Nate Diaz at UFC 196.

McGregor took a risk, accepting the fight at short notice and agreeing to meet Diaz at 170-pounds. The Irishman will rematch Diaz - again at welterweight - at UFC 202 on Aug. 20. This time, though, McGregor has spent months preparing specifically for Diaz and Kavanagh believes that’s what will make the difference at UFC 202.

In fact, Kavangh is so confident in their preparation that he feels like they’re ‘almost cheating’ going into the rematch.

The head coach went into detail on Talk Sport on Thursday, claiming that there is now structure to McGregor’s training sessions.

"The word we’ve been focusing on for this camp is ‘routine’," he said. "We basically did the same thing every day since we arrived in Vegas: Leave the house to go to the gym for a skill session at 1pm, before working on cardio in the evenings".

"Anyone who knows about the history of [Kavanagh's mixed martial arts gym] SBG Ireland will be aware that we were always regarded as the last-minute gym — the guys who would be ready to step in at short notice… All you can do in those circumstances is try to get your skill set to such a high level that the opponent doesn’t matter.

"I believe that worked well for us and the results were proof of that, but I also feel that when you’ve done that for so long, you can end up getting caught out against certain styles of opponent. This has provided us with an opportunity to experience the other method of extreme game planning and being very opponent-orientated.

"It’s been a new approach for me, and for us all. I’d describe it as doing an exam after seeing the questions on the teacher’s test sheet. I feel like we’re almost cheating going into this fight because we know what questions we’re going to face in the test".

Diaz vs. McGregor II, which headlines UFC 202, takes place on August 20 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.