John Kavanagh, coach of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor prefers if the Irishman stays in the lightweight division for his next fight but insists that he could also make the cut at 145-pounds, which means he will defend his featherweight belt.
Kavanagh claims he sees a number of likely contenders for his pupil's next match but it all depends on which weight class McGregor decides to fight in. If the 28-year-old defends his featherweight title then it is not interim champion Jose Aldo or Frankie Edgar who he can pick, but it will be third-ranked contender Max Holloway.
If McGregor does fight at lightweight, then it is Nate Diaz who Kavanagh feels is more deserving ahead of undefeated fighter Khabib Nurmagomediv, who demolished Michael Johnson at UFC 205 while also calling out the Irishman a "chicken" in his post fight interview.
"The second best 145-pounder is Max Holloway. That's my opinion. I think the second best 155-pounder is Nate Diaz. I think Nate would beat either Tony or Khabib. I think he really turned a corner with the Michael Johnson fight, I think we saw a new version of him, and I think he looked fantastic in both the Conor fights" Kavanagh said, as quoted by Fox Sports.
"I understand Khabib is the number one contender and it's probably going to be him, if that's how the company works. But for me, the Nate fight would interest me greater. If it's Tony or Khabib? Great. They're two fantastic fighters, and there's a lot to learn in the preparation and both would be extremely interesting fights for me to watch. But I do think Nate would, not comfortably, but would be quite better than either of them."
McGregor recently confirmed that he is going to take time off from the UFC to be with his family after admitting that he will become a father as long-time girlfriend Dee Devlin is expected to give birth early next year.