Coach John Kavanagh said that he got alerted by "psychologists" about Conor McGregor's "nice" behavior ahead of the rematch with Dustin Poirier at UFC 257.
UFC fans and analysts alike agreed that Conor McGregor's attitude has changed a lot since his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov. "The Notorious One" has become more amicable towards the press and especially with his rivals, which has caused concern over his fighting.
In a talk with ESPN's Ariel Helwani, coach Kavanagh revealed that he has been receiving warnings about Conor McGregor's behavior since before the fight against Donald Cerrone at UFC 246.
"In the lead up to the Cerrone fight, I had every 'psychologist' on planet earth warning me that he's messing up, you know? [That] Conor needs to be that guy. The fact that he has shaken Cerrone's hand, and [was being] nice at the interviews, [being] nice at the press conference. Nice at the weigh-ins. Everybody was warning me," coach Kavanagh said. "And if you had then a loss to Cerrone, this is what they'd be saying: 'We warned you, he's got to be that guy.' [But Conor McGregor] went in and [knocked Cerrone out] in 40 seconds. It didn't go away this time, so of course, everybody's prediction is now correct. If that left hand that wobbled [Poirier] had dropped him in the first [round], we'd all be saying, 'oh, I guess he doesn't need to do that.'"
Many people have questioned Conor McGregor acting so nicely and linked his new attitude to his performance fighting. For many, the Irishman was displaying the same attitude inside the octagon.
Conor McGregor got his third UFC loss after suffering a technical knockout in the second round to Poirier in their rematch at UFC 257. The first time they met back in 2014 had Conor McGregor sending Poirier to the canvas within two minutes of battle.
Is Conor McGregor going back to 'no more mister nice guy'?
Coach John Kavanagh believes that Conor McGregor can control and channel his behavior and feelings as he sees fit. The Straight Blast Gym founder thinks that his student has developed enough inside the 'fight game' to dispense himself of a 'bad guy' attitude.
Talking to ESPN's Ariel Helwani, coach Kavanagh reinforced how respectfully Conor McGregor treated Dustin Poirier at this time before their rematch at UFC 257.
"So, now, Conor can certainly hit that switch. He is, as we see, as he said many times, he is massively respectful of Dustin and appreciative of his skill level, but he wanted to take his head off. There was no doubt about that. He wasn't pulling any punches in the cage, and [he] got some nice those nice shoulder shots. Actually, Dustin was doing his own little shoulder shots as well, which is quite funny," said coach Kavanagh. "So, no, I don't subscribe to [Conor McGregor having to trash-talk] at all. I do think it's important for some to have that attitude, but Conor is in such affection of the game, and he can turn it on and off like a light switch at this stage, to be honest."