John Kavanagh believes Dustin Poirier faces an uphill battle against Conor McGregor.

Poirier faces McGregor in a lightweight bout that will headline the upcoming UFC 257 pay-per-view event taking place January 23 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

It is notably a rematch of their 2014 featherweight clash that saw McGregor use mind games as well as his superior striking to comfortably knock out Poirier in the first round.

While Poirier has improved tenfold since as he’s become one of the best lightweights in the world, Kavanagh believes the manner of how the first fight went will not be something “The Diamond” can easily get past.

“I think you can spend a lifetime going to sports psychologists and talking to this person and that person; that’s not going to have been erased from his mind,” Kavanagh told TheMacLife (via MMA Junkie). “He knows that he is facing somebody who can shut off his lights very, very rapidly and now is a lot more powerful and a lot more experienced than he was even then, so it’s a tough, uphill battle for Dustin.”

That said, Kavanagh acknowledges Poirier is a better and much more experienced fighter than the first time he collided with McGregor.

However, it’s a different story when considering the knockout power of McGregor.

“I think (Poirier) has definitely gotten better,” Kavanagh said. “There’s a few more takedown attempts now in his fights. I hadn’t seen it before – he has a good guillotine. We can see that. Then his volume and his conditioning is looking on point.

“You can see in his fights he has an ability to take a lot of punishment and still come forward. Pick any of last few fights to see that quality. However, he’s fighting a different animal than any of those guys: somebody with true, one-punch knockout power that he’s already felt.”

Do you agree with Kavanagh?

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