John Kavanagh: Conor McGregor’s ‘technique is as sharp as ever’ ahead of UFC 303

John Kavanagh assures that Conor McGregor’s focus on fighting has never wavered.

McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) returns from an almost three-year long layoff against Michael Chandler (23-8 MMA, 2-3 UFC) in a welterweight bout at UFC 303 June 29 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (pay-per-view, ESPN, ESPN+).

Outside of rehabilitating his broken leg, McGregor has kept busy with numerous things – including his acting debut in the movie “Road House,” which was released March 21 on Prime Video. Kavanagh likes what he sees out of his star student as he preps for his highly anticipated comeback.

“He’s looking super slick,” Kavanagh told Severe MMA. “There is fighters that when they’re not fighting … it starts becoming a job, and it’s hard to keep the level of intensity. Even if it’s not physical, the level of mental intensity of always be thinking about training, always thinking about sequences, always thinking about techniques. That’s something Conor’s had naturally his whole career.

“So even though when there were times where he’s filming and he’s doing this, he’s doing that, we’re still always having conversations back and forward, whereas some fighters are like, ‘If I’m not fighting, I don’t even want to look at shows. I’ll just get ready when there’s a fight coming up.’ He’s come back on the mats as sharp as ever. Of course, we’ve got to get the rounds in and get the conditioning up so as to be ready for competition, but his technique is as sharp as ever.”

Despite the outside distractions, Kavanagh says McGregor has been thinking about fighting throughout his entire layoff.

“Let’s say he has 20 different areas that he needs to focus on – martial arts will always be No. 1 because he really enjoys it,” Kavanagh said. “It’s the most fun. Going through the paperwork on a really long complicated property deal, probably not the most exciting thing in the world. But for martial arts, I feel I have a trump card. I can always send him a highlight, send him a technique, talk about a guy in here, and I’ll always pop to the top of the list.

“So I don’t feel I have to compete with those things. Conor’s very good at compartmentalization. Training is realistically maybe two one-hour sessions a day. There’s plenty of other time in the day where he can be focused on other areas. So when you’re in here, you’re on for the hour, you’re on for the 90 minutes, and then when you’re gone, you’re on for whatever it is you’re doing out there.”

Kavanagh thinks the Chandler fight resembles the one they prepared for against Chad Mendes, where McGregor ended up winning by Round 2 TKO to capture the interim featherweight title.

“I see similarities to the Mendes fight,” Kavanagh said. “I’d be surprised if it can go two rounds. I’d be surprised. He just hits too hard, he’s too sharp. Is there going to be scrappiness, and a few takedowns and stuff? Maybe. But every round starts on the feet, and his ability to get back there is underestimated. I’d be surprised if we see two rounds.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 303.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie