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mcgregor's coach

John Kavanagh opens up about 'humiliating' attack that led to him finding MMA

He was beaten up by a group of men in Dublin when he was 18 years old.

The Late Late Show / YouTube

JOHN KAVANAGH HAS said he got into mixed martial arts (MMA) after being involved in a violent altercation in Dublin.

Speaking on the Late Late Show, Conor McGregor’s coach told Ryan Tubridy about how he was beaten up when walking in Rathmines with his girlfriend at the age of 18.

“We were with a crowd but we were left behind. We were walking down Rathmines and I saw a guy getting a bit of a pasting. We walked past him initially and then I stopped and said ‘I can’t do this’ and I went back.

“Now, what would have been sensible would have been to just go into the garda station which was only across the road, but I wasn’t thinking that straight and I jumped in.

Unfortunately, it didn’t end like the martial arts movies where you drop three or four guys and you walk off into the sunset. I was the one that got dropped.

“Thankfully the guy got up and he ran, which was the natural instinct, I wouldn’t have held that against him.

“After that day there were physical scars. I got fairly beat up but it was the mental side of it, getting beat up in front of your girlfriend like that for a young man was very, very tough to deal with.

john John Kavanagh Screengrab / RTÉ Screengrab / RTÉ / RTÉ

“The physical side wasn’t all that bad, but the humiliation of being beaten up in front of your girlfriend…

“I grew up watching Bruce Lee movies and Rocky movies, it was always the strong, macho guy could protect his woman and I wasn’t able to do that.

“I didn’t want to go out, it was at least six or nine months before I left the house after that. I went into depression I guess.”

Kavanagh said he then decided to look into martial arts and found out about the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and MMA.

Diaz defeat

The coach also spoke to Tubridy about why he thinks McGregor’s defeat to Nate Diaz in March ended up being a good thing.

The Late Late Show / YouTube

“I was weirdly kind of glad that that happened under the big spotlight because I wanted people to see what I knew about [McGregor]. I knew that he wasn’t just about the flash.

“I knew that there was a character there, a will that had been forged in 10 years of training that we had put in. And I knew what he would do with that loss, I knew he wouldn’t shy away from it … He saw it as an opportunity to learn,” Kavanagh said.

McGregor won a rematch between the pair in Las Vegas last month.

Read: McGregor gets Vegas vengeance with thrilling victory over Diaz

Read: I’d like Conor to go for a second belt now and I believe he’ll only need two rounds to win it

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