Who is Coach John Kavanagh?
In the early hours of last Sunday morning, July 11, Conor McGregor won the Interim UFC featherweight champions belt defeating Chad Mendes. McGregor has always declared that his success it is not due to his own ability or talent but down to the team he has around him. These words are echoed from McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh who has coached the Dublin champion from the spritely age of sixteen.
Who is John Kavanagh?
In a recent interview with Ariel Helwani, Kavanagh, who has worked as an MMA coach for the last 8 years in Ireland spoke about how he disbelieves in the word talent. He says, ‘The guys who train with me know that the word talent makes my eye twitch, I really hate that word. It’s kind of like saying that something magical happened. I don’t believe in magic and I don’t believe in talent. Conor was inspired a couple of years ago to pursue this dream and he killed himself in the gym every day.’
Having trained as a mechanical engineer and also holding a black belt in brazilian jiu jitsu, Kavanagh is someone who is in search of the best possible way to do things for his fighters when he says ‘My philosophy on martial arts is the use of the scientific method’. In this way, he looks at the fighting game with a complete view, with no stone left unturned in preparation.
Coach John Kavanagh also believes that losing is as important to be comfortable with as the winning. Through losing we can learn and then know which areas we need to improve on for future events. Mastery is learned through fully understanding the areas where we are least effective and then working to improve on these areas in our lives.
‘“You’ll have another competition next week. I want this to be part of their life so that if they start a business and it fails, they understand that it’s not unnatural, that the important thing is to get back up again.” – Coach John Kavanagh
You get a feel for McGregor’s sense of how the team ethic and sense of how he confidently believes in his goals to dominate the sport when he says things like ‘We’re not just here to take part, we’re here to take over.’ McGregor has an MMA record of 18 wins and just 2 defeats.
Visioning is a technique which a coach will encourage their clients to engage in to prepare for an event or a goal that is on the horizon that needs to be achieved. Visualisation is something McGregor may have picked up from Coach John Kavanagh or part of the SBG team. The quotes below illustrate this when McGregor articulates the following.
Kieran McGeeney, a former GAA football player for Armagh, described Kavanagh as the ‘best coach’ that there was in MMA in Ireland after he joined Kavanagh’s SBG gym. He describes Coach John Kavanagh as a very humble man, easy to get on with and a fantastic coach.
Cathal Pendred, who is also a UFC star under the tutelage of Kavanagh, recently suffered his first UFC defeat in Las Vegas against John Howard, describes Kavanagh as someone who is very analytical, with the ability to break complex things down to make things seem simple. Pendred has a fight record of 17 wins and 3 defeats.
Another one of Kavanagh’s exciting prospects, Paddy Holohan won in Glasgow on Saturday night and serves as another clue to the value that Kavanagh is bringing to the Irish MMA scene. Paddy is the Jiu-Jitsu coach in SBG now and is beginning to make waves in the UFC.
It’s an exciting time to be an Irish UFC fan as there are many more up and coming fighters developing within these shores to contest inside the octagon. Nate ‘The Great’ Kelly is one such fighter. At 11 years of age, he showed his confidence at a press conference where UFC boss Dana White fielded a call from Nate to give him an advance on his first UFC paycheck. Nate believes he will one day outshine the star that is McGregor.
Kavanagh has been pivotal in providing the purchase from where McGregor and the likes are taking flight from and long may it continue. The future looks very bright.
For more details on Kavanagh and his Straight Blast Gym, check out http://www.sbgireland.com/