Conor McGregor - Photo by Mazdak Cavian/MMAnytt

John Kavanagh: Conor McGregor Still Undecided on What Comes Next For Him

Conor McGregor's head coach comments on what's next for the UFC lightweight champion

Conor McGregor has a lot of options regarding what comes next in his career but even his head coach can’t be for certain what he’ll ultimately decide.

McGregor has been in the headlines a lot lately but not because he’s booked his next fight. Instead, McGregor has been the subject of ridicule from several top fighters in the lightweight division who are frustrated that he hasn’t returned to defend his title and even UFC president Dana White has said that time is running short for him to return or potentially face being stripped of his 155-pound championship.

For his part, McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh has no doubt who is still the real champion in the UFC’s lightweight division but he’s still not sure what lies ahead of his most famous student.

McGregor has teased a return to the Octagon numerous times while also laying out demands for the UFC to come to an agreement with him on a new contract. Meanwhile there are several top boxers who have expressed interest in facing McGregor, which would likely earn him a bigger payday than anything the UFC could offer.

It all adds up to a lot of questions with very few answers right now.

“Conor’s still the champion. They can say what they want — I have his belt at home, actually,” Kavanagh said in an interview with the BBE. “He’s still the champion. He’s making the decision on what makes sense for the next move. It’s kind of early days yet. We’re just watching how that has developed while he’s been away. He’s had other going things on. Let’s see what happens in 2018. I’m excited about it, anyway.

“I think 2018 will be another big year for us. Exactly what that is, I don’t know yet. The plan is forming, but as they say, stay tuned.”

Perhaps the best indication of a decision being made sooner rather than later is McGregor getting back into the gym on a full time basis lately.

McGregor has posted videos from his recent training sessions where he’s back on the mats working alongside teammates including retired UFC fighter Paddy Holohan. Kavanagh says he’s happy to see McGregor getting back into the swing of things because that drive is exactly what he’ll need when preparing for his next fight.

“I’m happy to see him back just regular training. He had a lot going on in his life, a lot of stuff outside of fighting was going on in his life. He seems to be getting the hang of all that,” Kavanagh said. “Now, he’s back training almost everyday now.”

Of course, Kavanagh will have at least some influence on what McGregor decides to do next and it’s no secret that he would like to see the UFC lightweight champion return to mixed martial arts.

McGregor hasn’t fought in the UFC since Nov. 2016 but that is the sport that put him on the map and even he’s said that his hope is to do MMA next assuming he can come to an agreement with the UFC.

“My opinion, I’ll be pushing very hard for MMA,” Kavanagh said. “The boxing was a nice detour from what we’ve done, but mixed martial arts is my passion. If I have anything to do with it, he’ll be in the Octagon this year.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.