CONOR McGREGOR is not 'quite the same fighter' anymore according to Dustin Poirier's coach, who also hit back at John Kavanagh.
Poirier's head trainer Mike Brown has three times faced McGregor and opposing cornerman Kavanagh.
The first ended in defeat in 2014 but it was avenged seven years later by knockout when the pair rematched.
It set up a trilogy bout at UFC 264, which finished in chaos as McGregor broke his tibia before the second round, with Poirier winning by doctor stoppage.
Brown argued the Irishman both in and out of the cage is no longer the same threat he once was.
He told MMA Fighting: “I’m not sure what it is but he did see much sharper with his tongue in the past.
“Maybe he’s in a tough spot, I don’t know what it is but it also appears he has no lines anymore.
"Where he used to have some lines, some are ethnical but more lines. But those seem to have gone away.
“He doesn’t seem to be quite the same fighter both in the ring and with his promotion wise, too. Not sure what it is but something seems different.”
McGregor, 33, lost the first round in the eyes of all three judges before his horror leg break, with two even scoring it a 10-8 in Poirier's favour.
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But still, his coach said they were 'on track to getting a finish' and the one-sided pound and ground towards the end of the round was not troubling.
Kavanagh told the UFC's Laura Sanko: “I wasn’t concerned at all, I was actually really, really happy.
“And I knew what I was going to be saying between rounds.
"I was just going to tell him to keep doing what he was doing with the kicks and try to close a bit heavier this time.
"So we’d be looking to, rather than exchange punches, to slide back and left hand like he did on Aldo.
"Look for those kinds of techniques. Slide back left cross, slide back left uppercut, and kind of let Dustin fall into that kind of open space.
“At the 4:30 mark, everything’s gravy. Energy looked good, technique looked good.
"A few adjustments between rounds and I thought we were on track to getting a finish there or at least keep going, keep the rhythm going for the rest of the fight.”
BROWN RESPONDS TO KAVANAGH
Needless to say, Brown did not agree with the assessment, as he responded: “It’s not just somebody’s opinion, we’re talking about the judges’ scorecards.
“We had two of the judges had a 10-8 round. So I don’t know how anyone would consider that going well.”
McGregor will now spend six weeks on crutches after successful surgery in Los Angeles, but was handed a six month medical suspension.
Due to the unprecedented ending to the trilogy decider, he along with Poirier and UFC boss Dana White have opened the door to another rematch.
But for now, Poirier, 32, is expected to challenge newly crowned lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, 31.
Brown said: “At this point, I imagine Oliveira will be next. And who knows what the landscape looks like at the time [McGregor returns].”
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