DUSTIN POIRIER will face a very different Conor McGregor on Saturday after comfortably downing the Irishman earlier this year, according to Javier Mendez.
UFC 264 features a trilogy showdown between the MMA stars, after each man won one of their previous two battles.
The 32-year-old rivals are due to fight in front of a capacity crowd in Las Vegas in their pursuit of the lightweight belt.
That title was recently claimed by Charles Oliveira after being vacated by Khabib Nurmagomedov, who Mendez worked with before the Russian's retirement.
And the Mexican believes Poirier has the power to once again break McGregor's will and claim victory.
He told MyBettingSites: "Conor is going to come in different, he’s going to come in a different fighter.
"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.
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"Dustin just became stronger, so I don’t know if Dustin is going to go right at him off the bat. That’s a good possibility.
"It’s a different fight, it’s a better fight. If I had to favourite anybody I’d probably favour Dustin, but you can never count Conor out.
"Dustin wins by basically breaking Conor down – I can see that happening. 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 says, ‘Here, I’m giving it you back two-fold’."
Mendez, 50, does not foresee McGregor quitting MMA for good if he loses on Saturday.
He added: "If he did lose a second time, I think he would really question if he really needs this or if he still has it – it could definitely make him think about it.
"But he’s a real fighter too, so if he does lose again he’ll probably say, ‘I'm not leaving the sport like this’.
"Because guys that are able to gain the type of attention he does, they’re going to want to end it on a good note.
"He’s still young too, so he’s not going to want to end it on a bad note, so that’s a possibility. If he does lose, he may not just be finished because he’s too much of a fighter."
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