John Kavanagh: Brandao and Cummings are tougher tests than original opponents


Cole Miller has pulled out of his July 19th showdown with Conor McGregor after doing damage to the ligaments in his thumb in training and UFC have brought in dangerous Brazilian Diego Brandao to take the American’s place in Dublin’s 02 Arena.

McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh shared his thoughts on the injury, just a week after his welterweight Gunnar Nelson’s co-main event opponent changed from undefeated Ryan LaFlare to American, Zak Cummings.

“These things happen, MMA it a tough sport and the training is very hard, in fact the training is even tougher than the fight,” said Kavanagh. “There is an injury bug that plagues UFC and it comes down to the hours of contact and the impact of things like takedowns.

“I’m actually surprised it doesn’t happen more, but I wish Cole a very speedy recovery. He had an opportunity to main event at a UFC event here and I don’t think that will ever happen for him again. I imagine that he argued with his coaches and told them that he was fine. He definitely wanted the fight.”

As for the new matchup, Kavanagh believes Brandao serves as a far more intriguing counterpart for the Irish knockout artist.

“I think Diego Brandao makes for a much more interesting contest. He is a ranked UFC fighter, Cole isn’t. He has also won a series of The Ultimate Fighter, but I know he’s had his ups and downs. In saying that, losing to Dustin Poirier is nothing to be ashamed of. He’s only lost two times in his last nine fights and that’s very impressive at this level.

“He’s got knockout power and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility for Diego to get a title shot someday, I don’t think Cole Miller ever will. A victory for Conor against him is bigger than a win over Miller in my opinion,” he said.

Kavanagh, speaking from Iceland, also highlighted why he thinks Cummings poses a tougher test for Nelson than LaFlare.

“There’s no point in ignoring the fact that Gunni was originally meant to be fighting a fellow undefeated fighter, the whole ‘someone’s 0 has got to go’ was the selling point of that fight and we all know that Gunni likes to break people’s unbeaten streaks.

“I think Zak is a tougher, more experienced guy that LaFlare. He just beat another undefeated guy, Yan Cabral, and he is a very high-level jiu jitsu fighter. He’s similar enough to LaFlare, they’re both very good grapplers.

“I’m sure that both of the changes will have no real impact on the outcome for both Conor and Gunnar, I expect them both to finish their opponents in spectacular fashion,” he said.

Kavanagh also discussed why he believes the UFC will have trouble matching his fighters in the future.

“I don’t think anyone ever deliberately pulls out of a fight at this level. In the future, I think that the hardest thing will be finding willing opponents for my guys. There is not going to be a queue forming to fight Conor or Gunnar.

“They’re on a different level and fighters can see that when they watch them perform. When LaFlare pulled out I was told that a lot of top guys were asked if they wanted the fight and they wouldn’t take it. It’s just something we’re going to have to get used to,” he said.


Segments from this article originally appeared in the Irish Daily Mirror 5/6/2014

Ireland's leading MMA media outlet. Home of Severe MMA Podcast. Producers of 'Notorious,' 'The Fighting Irish' & other MMA docus

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