It might not have been the road anyone could have expected at 2016’s beginning, but Conor McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, thinks McGregor’s second opportunity to hold the UFC featherweight and lightweight titles simultaneously will be a bit more simple than the first time it was scheduled.
UFC 196 was originally supposed to be McGregor challenging then-lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in the main event. Dos Anjos was injured less than two weeks out, Nate Diaz stepped in, and a whole new chapter of MMA history was written.
At UFC 205 though, McGregor gets that chance to make UFC history again. Now though, dos Anjos is no longer champ after losing to former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC Fight Night 90.
“I think Alvarez is a little bit more straightforward,” Kavanagh told MMAjunkie. “Dos Anjos obviously has a world-class submission game on the ground. Alvarez is more basic on the ground. He’s just going to hold you there and throw some shots, whereas dos Anjos has very slick jiu-jitsu. In other respects, they’re both quite similar in that they’re both physically similar, and similar style. A couple punches, then try to get a takedown. But I think Eddie is slightly the easier fight because he’s orthodox and doesn’t have quite the submission game as dos Anjos.”
Whereas Kavanagh saw the problems McGregor had with Diaz having to do with size and reach disadvantages, those issues are not so much a problem against Alvarez — particularly the reach.
“Conor has range, he can hold him on the outside and then if Eddie does close the distance, yes, he’s probably going to have a small weight advantage, but not the same weight advantage as Nate did. But this is going to be a range war, and Eddie’s losing that one,” Kavanagh said.
“I can see a similar fight to (Chad) Mendes (at UFC 189). I think Eddie will use up a lot of energy in Round 1 trying to pin Conor to the fence. I think late in Round 2, the left hand will land and that will be all she wrote.”