Fighters don’t get paid by the minute. It could be said that the best-case scenario for an MMA athlete would be one strike thrown, one strike landed, no strikes absorbed, and a knockout victory. Get in, get out, get paid.
By that metric, Conor McGregor’s win over Jose Aldo at UFC 194 was an absolutely perfect scenario. But to hear McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, tell it, he was at least just a little bit disappointed in how that clash played out for all involved.
“I’m sure I spoke about it a lot at the time, but going back, I was a massive WEC fan,” Kavanagh said on The MMA Hour (transcript via MMA Fighting). “And if you’re a WEC fan, you’re obsessed with Aldo. Just the way he—he was the first one that I really saw, a striking-based MMA guy that just dismantled grapplers. So I was trying to learn a lot from what he did. And even going back further than that, his amazing coach ‘Dede’ [Andre Pederneiras], I watched him back in the Pride days.
“So there was nobody that was a bigger fan of that team and Aldo specifically than me. And in the lead up to that [UFC 194] fight, I had many sleepless nights looking at those leg kicks and his takedown defense and his speed and his technique and his experience. And I somewhat regretted how the fight went, because I would have loved to see the clash of styles and some more exchanges.”
It’s not hard to see Kavanagh’s point. He and McGregor put in countless hours studying Aldo’s fights and breaking down his tendencies. The pair then spent even more time training with those proclivities in mind in order to be ready for every imaginable scenario that could play out in a 25-minute scrap with one of the most talented fighters to ever step onto the fighting surface.
Kavanagh’s desire for his athlete to throw more than six (and land 5) significant strikes in 13 seconds – the time it took McGregor to score a knockout over Aldo – is understandable.
Still, all that said, it’s doubtful that Kavanagh would want to take back the result. After all, it resulted in the first of McGregor’s two UFC championships, and firmly solidified him as one of combat sports’ all time biggest stars.