Win or Learn: MMA, Conor McGregor and Me: A Trainer’s Journey by John Kavanagh


I had this book pre ordered as soon as i heard about it and received it on release day so this review should have been done a lot sooner, especially as it is such a good book.

I am obviously a huge McGregor fan but i was also fascinated with John after watching him and his passion whilst in the corner of all Conor’s fights and his mind-set he brings to the sport “We Win or We Learn”

I loved the fact that the book wasn’t just a book about the now famous Conor like some people expected.

It literally starts right back in Johns younger years and carries the reader through his triumph’s and not failures, but set backs and struggles. From being bullied at school to getting a beating when he intervened to help a woman who was being attacked, he decided to learn how to defend himself.

Kavanagh become a black belt in Kenpo Karate at the age of 12, became obsessed with Brazilian jiu-jitsu after watching the legendary Royce Gracie win the open-weight tournament and became Ireland’s first black belt 11 years later.

MMA wasn’t really heard of in Ireland so unlike all the new aspiring MMA fighters today, John didn’t have the luxury of just being able to walk into a MMA gym and having coaches to hand, so in this respect he became Ireland’s pioneer in the sport.

This book shows the willpower, discipline, sacrifice, focus, and the ability to overcome obstacles John had and still has today.

From having to travel to learn more and train and compete in the different types of mixed martial arts, this book takes us with him and back again to where he started out, training and teaching in a shed, Opening up Ireland’s first ever MMA gym, right through to his now very successful Straight Blast Gym and the amazing team he has brought together.

It also gives an insight to a very young and fresh Conor McGregor, Not McGregor the superstar he has gone on to become. He gives us the back story of their relationship that is so much more than just teacher and student and in his own words the struggles they both have overcome to become what they are and where they are today.

It is an inspiration to anybody who has a dream or aspiration to make something of themselves from nothing.

I have nothing but the up most respect for John after reading this and it’s easily a book that can be read more than once without loosing any of its appeal. I loved it and i would recommend it to not only MMA fans but to everyone. This book takes you through the very tactical side and even the scientific aspect of fighting without being boring and shows the sport as a respectable sport and not just barbaric fighting the sport has been perceived by some.

You never know, It might even make you become a UFC fan!

I hope John will find the time to write a follow-up book, i would certainly love to read more and i am sure i am not alone on that 🙂

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