The crowd gathered inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas collectively gasped in horror once they realised why Conor McGregor could not lift himself off the canvas against Dustin Poirier.
Unlike in their rematch six months before, it wasn’t because Poirier had finished McGregor, instead the Irishman had snapped his leg.
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The fight was also declared a second consecutive TKO win for Poirier as opposed to a ‘no contest’ doctor’s stoppage ruling that McGregor aggressively requested.
McGregor’s longtime coach John Kavanagh was shocked at what he saw.
With such a crushing way to lose the fight, just how frustrating has it been for Kavanagh to see McGregor taste defeat for the third time in his last four fights?
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“Very, in a word,” Kavanagh told Fox Sports’ Fight Week.
“Especially the last one, because the training camp went really well. I thought we made great adjustments.
“Take my obvious bias and subjectivity out of it, and just look at how the first round was going in terms of shots landed.
“Conor, I believe, was almost two-to-one.
“I thought we went into the second round, it would continue how it was looking in the stand-up portion of the fight which was Conor landing quite well.
“When Conor tends to land, people tend to fall.”
As the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion continues to step up his recovery and “enter that more serious phase of training”, the narrative is shifting away from how long it would take McGregor to return and changing to who might he face in his next fight.
It almost certainly won’t be for the lightweight title, which is being contested between current champ Charles Oliveira and No.1 contender Justin Gaethje on May 7.
Kavanagh admits he isn’t quite sure which scalp McGregor wants next, but hinted at a familiar face which would whet the appetite for many fight fans.
“I’m just excited to see him back in there,” Kavanagh said.
“It’s always a big occasion.
“There’s not much like a McGregor fight week and a McGregor fight night.
“It doesn’t really matter. You say any name and it’s exciting.
“Probably the (Nate) Diaz trilogy would be a fan favourite.
“But let’s just get him back healthy, back ready and back competing.”
Another tantalising prospect for a McGregor fight is against Australia’s own Alexander Volkanovski.
McGregor already fired the first shot — which Kavanagh described as “very unlike Conor” with tongue firmly planted in cheek — after watching Volkanovski defeat Brian Ortega in what was one of the fights of the year.
Volkanovski squirmed out of Ortega’s submission holds, but it wasn’t enough to stop McGregor from labelling him as a “shart” and claiming he could kick the Aussie’s “head off like it was a rugby ball”.
Kavanagh believes that there could be a fight between the two down the track, but at this stage in McGregor’s career, his mentality has shifted dramatically.
“Like I said, he’s won a couple of belts at this stage, he’s earned all the money he was going to earn,” Kavanagh said.
“He’s achieved all of those targets I’m sure he set himself, and exceeded them.
“So now at this stage I believe it’s more about exciting fights and doing other things.
“Whether it’s Volkanovski, it’s (Max) Holloway, it’s Tony Ferguson, it’s Diaz, for me the most important thing is to get back training, get back improving ourselves and get back in there competing, doing what he does best.”