Khabib Nurmagomedov’s former coach Javier Mendez believes Dustin Poirier will break Conor McGregor’s will at UFC 264, claiming that ‘The Diamond’ will take the fight to ‘The Notorious’ and run straight through him.
“Dustin wins by basically breaking Conor down – I can see that happening,” Mendez, who coached Khabib to victory against McGregor at UFC 229, told MyBettingSites in an exclusive interview. “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’.”
Mendez believes McGregor will have matured following his knockout defeat to Poirier at UFC 257 but will not be as confident in the trilogy because Dustin was able to absorb and withstand his best strikes — including the Irishman’s signature left hand which coach Firas Zahabi often refers to as ‘the touch of death’.
“Conor is gonna come in different, he’s going to come in a different fighter,” Mendez said. “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 gonna be a better fight. If I had to favourite anybody I’d probably favour Dustin, but you can never count Conor out.”
McGregor has KO’d Poirier at featherweight but his power didn’t seem to translate when the pair fought again at lightweight earlier this year. Poirier KO’d McGregor in the second round of the UFC 257 main event after dropping him with a flurry of hooks against the fence.
UFC 264: Poirier vs. McGregor 3 takes place Saturday, July 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.