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'I have seen the spark back': Kavanagh says McGregor's UFC return talks are ongoing

McGregor hasn’t entered the octagon since November 2016.

McGregor has a spark back lately, according to his coach.
McGregor has a spark back lately, according to his coach.
Image: Ethan Miller

CONOR MCGREGOR IS ready to get back in the octagon, according to his coach John Kavanagh.

McGregor has not fought in the UFC since November 2016 having stepped into the boxing ring for a blockbuster showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr last year, though McGregor is being tipped to face undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Kavanagh said negotiations for McGregor’s return to UFC remain “ongoing” as the Irishman eagerly awaits a fight.

He also noted that McGregor is interested in a bout with Nurmagomedov — a potential matchup that the mixed-martial arts superstar’s agent, Audie Attar, is “working on” finalising.

“I really have seen the spark back lately,” Kavanagh told ESPN.

“I think that was directed at other areas of his life for a while, building up his business world — which is completely justified. We all know the hard luck stories of fighters retiring broke. They get pats on the back and they’re forgotten.

“I supported [McGregor focusing on other business] and I’m fully behind it, but I do see the spark back. I do see him very hungry, coming down to regular jiu-jitsu class and throwing a gi on. Strength and conditioning. There’s a real fire back.”

McGregor appeared briefly in court last month following his arrest for his role in April’s infamous UFC 223 bus attack, which he stormed the Barclays Center searching for Nurmagomedov.

The 29-year-old was charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief, but said he regretted his actions. McGregor remains free on bail and is due back in court on 26 July.

On the potential meeting with Nurmagomedov, Kavanagh added: “It’s a cliché to say, but it’s a classic striker versus grappler. Khabib needs to get into that clinch, join his hands and start chaining his takedowns together. Obviously, we need to try and prevent that.

“I think a lot of people are so afraid of Khabib’s grappling, they don’t engage with him. Conor is a good grappler. I know that will get a lot of people upset when I say that, but watch his fights. There’s plenty of evidence to support that claim. I’m feeling and he’s feeling confident, wherever the fight goes. But [the left hand] will be the difference in the fight.”

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