John Kavanagh wants to see Conor McGregor fight Justin Gaethje … at welterweight

While the MMA world debates whether Conor McGregor should face Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jorge Masvidal or Kamaru Usman, his head coach revealed he has other ideas for his star pupil.

Speaking on “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show,” coach John Kavanagh said he’d like to see McGregor stay at welterweight, but face a different opponent to those being widely mooted.

Former two-division champ McGregor (22-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC), became the first fighter in UFC history to score finishes in three different weight classes, featherweight, lightweight, and most recently, a 40-second finish over Donald Cerrone at UFC 246, at 170 pounds.

There are many options ahead for McGregor, but Kavanagh would like to see him lock horns with Justin Gaethje (21-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), a fighter that believes he should have been the one standing across McGregor at UFC 246.

“Justin Gaethje at 170,” Kavanagh said. “That would be my personal preference … because he’s another lightweight. Neither of them have to cut weight and the goal – I’ll be careful with my words here – the kind of vision is to get that 155-pound belt back so it’s a step towards that.”

And why welterweight? Kavanagh says he doesn’t see a point in McGregor cutting down to 155 pounds unless it’s really worth it.

“I don’t see the reason for him to cut weight unless there’s a significant – there has to be a belt on the line,” Kavanagh said. “Otherwise, why would he do it? So yeah, stay at this weight, don’t cut weight and then when the big one comes along, shed the last 15 pounds.”

McGregor did not compete in 2019, and has stated that he wants to be active in 2020. With the UFC lightweight title fight between champion Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson scheduled for UFC 249 on Apr. 18, Kavanagh says he definitely expects McGregor to return to within the next couple of months, and hopefully at around the time of the lightweight title fight, so he is on the same schedule as the fighter that emerges with the lightweight title.

“I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t going to compete before the summer,” said Kavanagh. “There were talks of March or April so (he’s) definitely going to be competing before the summer. What I think would make sense was that we get ready, we prepare for the April fight (and) if one of those guys isn’t fortunate enough to be able to make the walk, we’re ready to go and then if that’s not there, if the guys make it, schedule one within a few weeks of that and then you’re kind of on the same timeline as those guys for a fight a couple of months after that.”

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