UFC megastar Conor McGregor has not competed inside the octagon since way back in 2016. With the Ireland native now set to fight undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 229 on Oct. 6, some fight fans are seemingly concerned that “Notorious” may experience ring rust from his time away from the octagon.
Speaking to The Mac Life, SBG Ireland head coach John Kavanagh has since come forward to claim that they are not worried about ring rust being an issue for the former two-division champion.
“I think it’s how you approach training.”
“I think if your gym environment and how you train in the gym is very separate to how you compete then for sure there will be ring rust but if you are regularly putting yourself in stressful sparring situations, which is the best we can get in the gym environment, it more resembles competition then.
“So, specifically very much for this training camp we had a lot of very intense training sessions, sparring sessions, it’s done in the environment he’s going to compete in. We even had spectators for a lot of the spars, so we’re trying to make the training environment as closely mimic the competition environment so there isn’t that much of a disconnect between the two of them.”
“I guess it depends a little on where the fighter is in their career, how their training is going to be specific for them as opposed to someone who’s maybe coming through the amateur ranks but I would still say that regardless of whether the spar is ‘dangerous’, even where a jiu-jitsu player is getting ready for competition you can mimic to a closer degree than just rolling with your mates in an open environment, whereas if the coach says to you tomorrow it’s you versus your toughest sparring partner Dave who is always bridging and rolling out of your mount and is hard to take down and we’re going to do it with the whole group watching and I’m going to award points as it goes along, you will wake up that morning with a similar feel.
“Our reptilian brain, that mid brain, is not so developed as to be able to differentiate between where the competition is held, even though it’s in the gym environment — even if it’s only a grappling environment,” Kavanagh explains. “So you know there is no real physical damage that can be done. With all of my guys we do simulated fights, if you want to call them spars. Some of them are for grappling competitions, some of them are for kickboxing, some of them are for MMA. So it’s more the psychological part of it rather than the heavy impact side of it.”