Conor McGregor coach explains how COVID-19 outbreak could benefit Khabib and Tony Ferguson

Conor McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh believes the coronavirus outbreak could be a blessing in disguise for Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused chaos across the globe, with entire cities on lockdown and major events being cancelled.

The global pandemic has also impacted the UFC, with the promotion forced to indefinitely postpone three events.

The UFC’s next pay-per-view event, UFC 249, has also felt the effects of the virus – with the card losing its venue in Brooklyn, New York.

Nurmagomedov and Ferguson’s preparations for the card, which they are due to headline, have also been drastically affected by the virus.

The final stages of the pair’s respective camps will see them have limited contact with training partners and significantly less, if not zero, sparring due to the manner in which the virus can be transmitted.

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I think the only real effect is they’ll come in completely injury-free

John Kavanagh on the effect the coronavirus has had on Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson

The lack of hard rounds is less than ideal for both fighters, who have sizeable tasks on their hands to negate the other’s best weapons.

Kavanagh, however, doesn’t believe the lack of intense training will have a detrimental effect on Nurmagomedov and Ferguson.

In fact, the SBG Ireland head coach believes the pair, whose long-awaited meeting has fallen through a staggering four times due to a myriad of injuries and complications from a botched weight cut, will benefit from not having to go through the normally arduous final weeks of a training camp.

“If the April 18th fight happens,” Kavanagh tweeted. “Honestly I can’t see how it does but let’s be optimistic and say it does then what effect will 4-5 weeks of no real grappling/sparring have.


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“Only focus will be conditioning. Personally I think it’ll have almost zero effect on skill.

“The fighters have too many years of consistent training for a couple of weeks to have any real effect on technique or timing.

“I think the only real effect is they’ll come in completely injury-free. No bruising, no tweaked knees, nothing.”

Kavanagh, like many others, is relishing the prospect of Nurmagomedov and Ferguson sharing the Octagon.

However, given the current global climate, the Irish MMA pioneer can’t foresee the fight taking place.

He said: “I just cant see it happening.”

The UFC have worked frantically to ensure their fourth pay-per-view card of the year goes ahead as planned.

Mixed martial arts’ premier promotion have secured a new venue for the event, although UFC president Dana White is refusing to reveal the venue for the eagerly-anticipated card.

During an Instagram Live broadcast with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, White said: “I do (know where it is), but I’m not ready to tell you yet.

“I know lots of things. There’s not going to be any fans there. It’s going to be a closed event.”

White doubled down on that statement in a separate interview with ESPN, in which he claimed the card is ‘99.9 per cent’ going to happen.

“Trust me, Khabib has been telling me every day, ‘Send location’,” White told ESPN. “I have it. It’s 99.9 per cent. On April 18, we are having this fight.”

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