The way John Kavanagh sees it, 2018 is shaping up to be another big year in the career of UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.

And if the head coach for “Notorious” has his say, that big year will come inside the Octagon.

While many have predicted that McGregor will never return to the UFC, Kavanagh sees him proving those people wrong.

“I’m just happy to see him back, just regular training,” Kavanagh said in an interview with BBC Sport. “He had a lot going on in his life. A lot of stuff outside of fighting was going on in his life and he seems to be getting the hang of all that.

“Now he’s back training almost every day now and I think 2018 will be another big year for us. Exactly what that is, I don’t know yet, but the plan is forming. Stay tuned.”

The only time McGregor was in action in 2017 was for a boxing match with former champion Floyd Mayweather. His last UFC appearance came in 2016 when he claimed the lightweight title by finishing Eddie Alvarez in the second round at UFC 205.

McGregor and his long-time girlfriend, Dee Devlin, also welcomed their first baby to the world.

“Conor’s still the champion,” Kavanagh said. “He can says what he wants but I have his belt at home. He’s still the champion. He’s making the decision on what makes sense for the next move but it’s kind of early days yet. We’re just watching how that has developed while he’s been away. Let’s see what happens in 2018. I’m excited about it.

“I’ll be pushing very hard for MMA. The boxing was a nice detour from what we’ve done but mixed martial arts is my passion so if I have anything to do with it, he’ll be in the Octagon this year.”