Win or Learn by John Kavanagh

*A look at the calmness beyond the octagon’s madness*

29620233John Kavanagh…What a guy! Conor McGregor and Coach seem to be an unlikely fit at first. Conor is loud, OTT and aggressive while Coach comes across quiet, calm, collected and level-headed. After reading this book I was happy to learn that John can handle McGregor quite well. And all of a sudden they don’t seem an unlikely pair anymore but actually a perfect fit. This book is a pretty cool look at behind the scenes… the journey of both trainer and fighters trying to make it and keep going against all odds.

As a man, John pretty much built himself up from the ground. A lot of persistence and unwillingness to step away from his dream started delivering satisfying results. But it took a lot of patient persistence.

From fighter to coach, it’s evident that coaching was his true calling. He’s that type of person who ca handle many different and difficult personalities. I found it especially funny when John recalled one of his last fights where he had the opponent submitted and in his head he was giving the guy instructions how to get out of the clinch. “Move your hand here and you could get free!”

The book itself- yeah, it could have been edited to flow a bit better. There was a bit of jumping back and forth topics and some repetition but I guess it does give a feel for an authentic Coach Kavanagh voice. It truly comes across how proud he is of all the fighters he trains and how he supports them 100%. Dealing with a lot of alpha males and their unique personalities certainly takes patience and wisdom. The way he handled some of the situations was just inspiring. That just shows you how much trust and loyalty there can be in between a fighter and a coach, how well they know each other.

The ‘image’ of the sport is a topic, especially in Ireland which John could not avoid addressing in his book. Mixed martial arts is considered by many barbaric and too violent and ‘not a sport’. I have seen John attend various Irish TV shows where he has often been at the receiving end of the rage and ignorant comments from the haters. Never once did Kavanagh fail to offer pretty darn good counterpoints. This is simply John- he doesn’t need to argue with anyone by raising his voice and never has he seemed visibly under duress while giving the topic his own two cents. He is always calm, always confident and comes across nearly gracious at how he tries to explain what MMA or the sport in general means to him or his fighters.

Naturally, some of the fights Coach recalls can’t go without the mention of Irish fans. If you were watching soccer EURO’s this year, I’m sure you heard and saw some of the fighting and rioting happening in between some nationalities. While that ugliness was happening, Irish fans were revving it up by having a mighty good time instead. Singing, dancing, being happy…

During the weigh-ins and fights, the Irish fans are known to lift the roof off the place and really show the whole of UFC what excitement really means. Now, fans need something to keep them fuelled and next to Paddy, Cathal, Artem and Gunnar it has been Conor McGregor who ‘kicked the door down and took over’… The cash cow of UFC. Some people hate Conor’s loud mouth and overly confident attitude. Conor is as witty and quick as they come. I admire it- he saw a business opportunity and he grabbed it. You don’t make money by looking like a silent bystander under the spotlight. And whether you love Conor or hate him, you’re still making him money because you either want to see him win or see him lose.

This autobiography ends on a loss note. Nate Diaz submitted Conor McGregor in what was a pretty historic fight in the UFC. While Diaz is a 155lb fighter and Conor got his belt after defeating Aldo at 145lb, Diaz and McGregor fought at 170lb. Conor was actually set to move up a weight class to fight Rafael dos Anjos for the belt which COULD have meant, IF Conor would’ve won that fight, that Conor would hold two champion belts at the same time. Something that has never been done in the UFC before. But RDA pulled out due to an injury 12 days before the fight and in stepped Nate Diaz. One way or another, interesting times ahead…

Win or learn…

SBG Ireland definitely applied the win or learn attitude and since the book has been published, Diaz and McGregor had their second fight in which McGregor came out victorious after going the full 5 rounds of proper face-mincing, both guys wobbling on their feet because each can give a punch and also take a punch. Round three… I can’t wait!

Here’s Conor… love him or hate him! Note: some bad language included!

Do you watch UFC? What do you think of the sport?


      • Ha! He’s such a shit talker. I didn’t know you were a UFC fan, Liz! πŸ™Œ I love the UFC! That fight between McGregor and Diaz was awesome! I think I partially lost my voice yelling at the TV. I had to go with my American boy on that one. The best were the pre-fight interviews with those guys. And McGregor made some comment about being like a gazelle and Diaz said this is America no one knows what the fuck a gazelle is and I was in tears. πŸ˜‚ There’s no filter with either one of them. It’s awesome! Both of them were really funny the first fight. I thought McGregor was all talk when he lost but he redeemed himself the second time around. I thought the second fight was bullshit though. Diaz had some serious techniques that made me really wonder about the fight card.

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        • hehe, yeah, I lose a lot of sleep over UFC… the main card usually starts at 3AM in Ireland… so main fight is like 5AM… lot of weekends where Sundays are just spent in a zombie state, but I can’t NOT watch it… πŸ™‚

          I agree, the press conferences are always funny- so many egos bouncing off each other πŸ˜€

          Yes, the second fight was just… blimey, they can both give and take a punch! I don’t know much about scoring, but if it was dodgy then they’re keeping it interesting by allowing for the 3rd and final fight in between them for what is the Diaz/McGregor saga πŸ™‚ Do you think they’ll have their 3rd fight at 155lb?

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          • Oh, right. That time difference is a killer for you. I have a hard enough time staying up late for the fights here. Yeah, I live for those press conferences. How about Bones and Cormier going at each other over the dividers? That was awesome! Those two are crazy! Too bad we won’t see that fight for ages. Diaz said he’s not fighting again until he gets another fight with McGregor, but I read an article that quoted Dana White, and he said that he’s moving on from them. I guess he’s got other things in the works for McGregor. I think they always had a plan for him and that loss against Diaz messed it all up.

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            • Ah Bones and Cormier… yes, I was so looking forward to their fight the last time and then Bones was pulled and I was banging my head against the wall thinking- what’s up with the bloody drugs… and I had just watched his interview where he was like- yeah, I’m a changed man, or whatever… my ass- pull your head out of your arse and just come and fight and show what you’re made of!

              Hmm… Well, I’d love another Diaz/McGreg fight just to settle the score and to be honest- I wouldn’t even mind who won that because I have love for both guys…
              McGregor’s next move… I’m not really interested in seeing another Aldo fight- been there, done that and I doubt Aldo could beat Conor… Maybe… but I don’t know…

              Did you watch Overeem and Miocic last weekend? Poor Overeem was totally dazed for the post match interview…

              Liked by 1 person

              • Yeah, Bones is killing me. I thought he was going to take over the UFC. I can’t believe it’s all because of drugs. He’s a pro athlete he should’ve been training not partying. πŸ˜‚ And he has such much talent he’s wasting. It drives me nuts. I’d like another Diaz and McGregor fight. They’re both such shit talkers that just the pre-fight interviews are worth it. And Diaz is so bad with come backs. I love watching him try to think of what to say. πŸ˜‚ I didn’t buy the Overeem fight. I only watched some highlights after the fights were over. I used to buy all of them but I’m more selective now. They’re super expensive here. Do you guys get the FOX free fights in Ireland or do you have to pay for all of them? Some of the lesser known fights we get for free on the same channel as our football.


  1. I don’t have anything against MMa, I have a lot of respect for it, but it is not my cup of tea. I prefer Pro Wrestling, where the violence is fake, and the guys are actually friends, trying desperately not to hurt each other. πŸ™‚

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    • Yes, I never knew anything about UFC either until maybe 1,5 years ago… Funnily enough I first started liking Gunnar Nelson, Icelander, first and then discovered he’s training with John Kavanagh, same as Conor… so it all snowballed… there are plenty of female fighters as well whose fights I always follow… Like Rose Namajunas and I like Holly Holm… anyway… borecast! sorry… πŸ˜€ Basically, I love UFC! Plenty of interesting characters involved…

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      • Holly Holm ended up being such a disappointment. πŸ˜‚ That KO with Ronda was awesome though. πŸ™Œ Serious props for that fight! She just bated Ronda right into that trap and then bam lights out. Then Tate loses after one win I was like WTF! I love that everything in the UFC is getting shaken up. I need my girl Ronda to come back. I miss her. She needs to ditch her trainer though. Edmond is totally holding her back from her potential. We need to talk more often about the UFC. I had no idea you were such a fan. Me, too! Obviously! πŸ™‚ I don’t know a single girl who watches it. I saw the highlight reel from this past weekend’s fights. I’m glad I didn’t buy that one. πŸ˜‚ The grossest fight ever was watching Anderson Silva’s leg snap like a chicken bone. That was sick. He’s the reason I got into the UFC. He looked sharp his last two fights. I’m glad he’s getting back to normal just not as strong as he used to be. I also think his division is all rhoided out. They’re way too big some of them. Like with Weidman I was like get out of here. I hate him. I was so glad he lost. And I’m so annoyed about Bones. He’s another one I had high hopes for. I was like dude, what’s up with the drugs? He’s killing me! That whole division is killing me. And Gustafsson was another one I thought was gonna kill it. He just totally drop off after that loss in Sweden. πŸ˜‚ I think it messed with his head. I do have a bit of a thing for him. Not gonna lie. πŸ™‚ Gus is kinda sexy. I also have a thing for Machida. I call him the sexy karate master. πŸ˜‰

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        • I agree on Holly and Tate… Tate has had some serious ups and downs, when she lost I was thinking- no way will she keep going, but her after the match interview was quite positive so she kind of kept it together, but I always got the feeling it’s either win or just throw in the towel by her. Ronda.. yeah, she’s a powerhouse, and again, I agree- her last fight I couldn’t believe how different she looked and moved…

          Silva! Man! Did you see Silva v Bisping fight? Holy shit! I got so much respect for Bisping after that fight… that man just defined stamina and determination… he fell to the floor like a sack of spuds and yet still kept going… I am now hoping he keeps the belt from the Henderson fight…

          Weidman πŸ˜€ haha, and how do you feel about Luke Rockhold? He comes across like petulant child at times πŸ˜€

          Gustafsson- yeah, there’s a sweet piece of a Swede for you! To be honest, Swedish… I remember visiting Stockholm a few years back and I was like drooling cos they’re all just fine! πŸ˜€


          • I never really cared for Tate, and with Holly, I kept thinking is she really a boxer? Her previous fights looked like she was points fighting, more the way you’d box, than someone who was a legit kickboxer and could tear it up. I also thought she’d be quicker and lighter on her feet for a boxer. I was never really all that impressed with her. Ronda needs to learn how to bob and weave. They said she was working on her boxing and striking, but for real, I’m not seeing it. If she didn’t shit talk Freddie Roach and Floyd Mayweather, maybe she could’ve gotten some world class boxing help. She could use it. The only thing she knows how to do her last couple fights is get her face smashed in. She literally walks into the punch. Like hello, Ronda, your face is not a human punching bag! I always knew her downfall would be the striking. Her technique is horrible, her foot work is all wrong, and her stance doesn’t work when she’s trying to stand up with a boxer. I watched boxing my entire life, long before the UFC existed, and that’s something I always pay attention to when I watch the fights, especially when they claim they’re a so-called striker and can throw down.

            I watched the Silva fight with Bisping and I’m a diehard Silva fan. I really thought Silva had him I think it was in the second or third round. I screamed so loud I almost lost my voice that round and my hands were numb by the end of the fight from clapping and smacking shit. I’ll give Bisping some props for his fights though. I didn’t think he would win. That was a real surprise. I’m not a fan of Rockhold or Weidman. When Weidman beat Silva the first time and acted like such a dick, waving around his flag, I had no respect for him. Silva might’ve teased everyone he fought to egg them on, but in the end, he was almost always a class act, which is why I think he’s one of the most respected fighters. For me, Silva is like the Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky of the UFC. I love him! And his skills are far superior than some of these bigger guys like Weidman who look like total meatheads and should be bumped up a weight class. Rockhold is okay but nothing special. I didn’t care for him though I hated Weidman more, so I was happy to see his punk ass lose.

            YES! Gustafsson is one fine hunk of man, apart from those cauliflower ears. I don’t think we see enough Swedes on American TV other than Alexander Skarsgard and that’s another hottie I love. I fell in love with vampires the second I laid eyes on him. I was like yep, you can take a bite. πŸ™‚

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            • Mm, I agree with you on everything you say…
              I haven’t watched Silva fight too much, thought the few times I have his style has annoyed me… I get all the hand movements and whatnots but.. ohhh, who was he fighting… there was this one fight where I was like – come ooonnn! Just do something and stop pulling disco moves πŸ˜€ haha.. but yes, I know he is much respected and a big name in the UFC and obviously for a reason.

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              • You should watch Silva’s old fights on UFC Fight Pass. He’s a legend for a reason. His older techniques are killer. I think he’s more cautious now that he severed his leg. That was nasty! He should’ve been more aggressive with Bisping, but I think he’s still getting is bearings after that massive injury. I can’t believe it didn’t end his career. He’s like Kobe! Love both of those dudes!


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