McGregor's coach John Kavanagh 'surprised' by Dustin Poirier's kicks

Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh admits Irishman’s camp were ‘very surprised by the effectiveness’ of Dustin Poirier’s kicks during humiliating UFC 257 loss – the first TKO defeat of his career

  • Conor McGregor and Co. are still digesting his emphatic loss to Dustin Poirier 
  • The Irishman was expected to dispatch his opponent who he has beat before 
  • Poirier rained down kicks on McGregor and badly injured the UFC star’s leg
  • McGregor received the first ever TKO defeat of his career as a result 

Conor McGregor’s trusted coach John Kavanagh has admitted his ‘surprise’ at the sheer effectiveness of Dustin Poirier’s kicks, which saw his man pick up the first TKO defeat of his 13-year UFC career.

McGregor entered the UFC 257 headline clash as the overwhelming favourite, having defeated Poirier earlier in his career and arriving for the showdown in peak physical fitness.

But McGregor was caught off guard by the velocity of his opponent’s attacks, which Kavanagh has now admitted are extremely hard to replicate in a training scenario.

Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh (right) has admitted the whole team were taken aback by the effectiveness of the brutal leg kicks of Dustin Poirier

Poirier weakened McGregor with debilitating leg kicks and soon seized momentum at UFC 257

Speaking this week to MMA Junkie, Kavanagh outlined how McGregor’s energetic start filled him with confidence, before things quick started to go sour.

He said: ‘The fact that Dustin threw it is not that surprising. It was certainly part of our training, to deal with leg kicks. How devastating a technique it was somewhat caught us out. 

‘In the gym, when you’re throwing that technique, you’re not trying to kick your partner as hard as you possibly can, and you’re also wearing shin pads, kick pads. … You can build up a false confidence – “I feel it, but it’s not that bad.”

‘Then it’s only in fighting that you get tiny gloves and no shin pads.’

Slow-mo footage has revealed the moment McGregor’s leg buckled just before the KO

Kavanagh says McGregor has been full-throttle on the training since he effortlessly defeated Donald Cerrone in January 2020, but implied that the rapid nature of that fight meant his man has had barely any practice in authentic fight conditions.

Kavanagh added: ‘From October 2018, coming up two-and-a-half years almost, he had 40 seconds of feeling what kicks feel like with no pads on, and punches with four-ounce gloves. So, yeah, that is one thing you cannot replicate.’

The fight was ended by the referee in the second round, with McGregor showing respect to his opponent in the immediate aftermath.

McGregor complained of a ‘dead leg’ after the bout, and was seen leaving the Etihad Arena on crutches, with Poirier consistently chopping away at the Notorious’ lead right leg in a bid to destabilise his rival.

Poirier knocked out the former two-weight champion in a sensational victory, inflicting the first TKO defeat of McGregor’s storied 13-year UFC career

McGregor’s leg was ‘stunned, dead and debilitated’ by calf kicks from Poirier, it was later said

And a doctor has outlined the damage that leg kicks, although insignificant on the eye, has on athletes.

‘Pay attention to where Poirier’s leg makes contact with McGregor’s, it is on the outside, just below the knee,’ Brian Sutterer MD reveals on his YouTube channel.

‘This nerve (just behind the knee) is the common fibula nerve. What is important about it is how superficial it is, meaning how close it is to the skin.

‘When this nerve gets damaged from calf kicks in this area it is going to do two things. Number one it is going to cause pain from the signals that go down to the sensory input of the leg and number two it is going to cause limited function of the muscles because that nerve is going to be stunned.

‘With enough impact to that nerve you are going to shut off the signals to the lower part of that leg, causing the leg to feel dead and debilitating the fighter as we saw here.’

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