John Kavanagh recalls heart-to-heart with Conor McGregor when he was close to quitting 5 years ago

John Kavanagh recalls heart-to-heart with Conor McGregor when he was close to quitting

UFC fans will be glad John Kavanagh made the trip over to Crumlin to convince his young pupil to fight on.

For many, Conor McGregor has been in their lives - and all over their social media - for three or fours years. For John Kavanagh, the Dubliner has been a part of his life for the best part of 11.

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While McGregor is a UFC champion now, and earning millions, his journey to the top began when he entered Kavanagh's gym and took a chance on himself.

Kavanagh was on the Late Late Show, to promote his recently released book 'Win or Learn', and recalled a conversation he had with a teenage McGregor that kept him from quitting what he had barely started.

While admitting McGregor was taken aback by his coach's "school-teacher" appearance when they first met, Kavanagh knew pretty quickly that he had someone special on his hands. McGregor had a background in boxing but was a novice in mixed martial arts.

"I knew from the beginning he had something different," he said.

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John Kavanagh

However, after a positive start, McGregor became 'a little hit and miss' with his training. He went from missing the odd session to disappearing for a couple of months. The fighter's mother visited Kavanagh and asked if he could come to his house for a chat with her son.

"It was a Friday night ... We had a heart to heart. I told he could not only be a fighter but [that] I actually thought he would change the game. 

"There should be no holding back any more; no holding off."

McGregor showed up the next Monday morning and got to work.

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He has not stopped since.

The GAA Hour Hurling Show relives Tipperary’s sensational All-Ireland victory with Paidí Maher. Listen below or subscribe on iTunes.