Khabib Nurmagomedov's trainer has advised Conor McGregor to make only slight adjustments for his third fight with Dustin Poirier.
The former two-weight world champion faces off with Poirier in a trilogy bout that could land him another world title opportunity on Saturday night.
Renowned coach Javier Mendez was in Nurmagomedov's camp for his decisive submission victories over both McGregor and Poirier in 2018 and 2019, so he knows what it takes to beat both men.
And speaking ahead of UFC 264, Mendez has predicted that the Irishman will be a changed man from the initial rematch in January, which Poirier won by second round knockout.
"Conor is going to come in different, he’s going to come in a different fighter," Mendez told the MyBettingSites blog. "He will be a much more mature fighter from the last bout.
"But he will maybe not be as confident as he was last time, because then he was overconfident and this time he’s going to come in with vengeance.
"We’ll see whether he has enough to deter Poirier because Dustin in my opinion felt what Conor had when he got hit with that really good shot – and it didn’t do anything to him.
"Dustin just became stronger, so I don’t know if Dustin is gonna go right at him off the bat – that’s a good possibility, it’s a different fight – it’s going to be a better fight.
"If I had to favourite anybody I’d probably favour Dustin, but you can never count Conor out."
Mendez believes that, similarly to what his fighter Nurmagomedov has predicted, Poirier will be the more likely winner if the bout gets taken into the championship rounds.
"Dustin wins by basically breaking Conor down – I can see that happening," Mendez explained.
"Dustin comes in and goes at him, breaks him down, break his will, that’s how I see it happening – Dustin comes in and just breaks him down, takes what he has and more or less says ‘here, I’m giving it you back two-fold’."
And the veteran coach doesn't believe that there is much McGregor needs to do to be able to nullify Poirier's gameplan, aside from checking his brutal calf kicks.
"All Conor needs to do is don’t stay in that Karate stance, the only thing he needs to adjust is his leg calf kicking checking, he doesn’t need to change anything else other than that.
"That’ll change the fight in itself – that calf kicking changed everything, you could see how it affected him.
"All of a sudden he couldn’t really do what he wanted to do because his body was betraying him – his legs weren’t moving in the way that he wanted them to move."
Nurmagomedov retired late last year, leaving the lightweight title vacant until Charles Oliveira defeated Michael Chandler in May to take the belt.
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