CONOR McGREGOR 'didn't look comfortable' in his rematch loss to Dustin Poirier, said the man who fought them BOTH.
McGregor marked a year out of the cage in January as he returned to face Poirier, who he initially knocked out in 2014.
But it ended in disaster for the Irishman, who was stopped in the second round after also having his legs brutally targeted.
The 32-year-old pair are now set for a trilogy decider on Saturday, headlining UFC 264 in Las Vegas.
Joe Duffy, who beat McGregor in 2010 but lost to Poirier six years later, can recognise more than most what went wrong for the ex-UFC champion.
Duffy, 33, told SunSport: "I feel like a lot of factors played into the last one.
"Obviously, the calf kicks, I understand the difference it can make in a fight but Dustin definitely stayed calm.
"He took the left fine and I think that was the major question mark, whether he would stay calm and he did.
"Going into this one, I think you've got to kind of put your chips on Dustin.
"I think last time, in the fight I found Conor didn't look comfortable in the octagon. It was almost like when he got caught, he was glad it was over.
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"I think where Dustin's been active and fighting all the top guys, plenty of cage time, I think it showed.
"It's another six months down the line since the last fight, Conor hasn't fought in between, so I just feel Dustin's going to be more comfortable in there then Conor."
McGregor now finds himself in a must-win situation, with a win propelling him back into title contention, but a consecutive loss leaves his career in question.
He can earn himself a shot at newly crowned lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, 31, by beating Poirier for a second time.
But Duffy, who retied in 2020, fears McGregor will never re-find the form of his epic featherweight run from 2013-2015 or win UFC gold ever again.
He said: "I'd be surprised. I think when you've done what he's done, when you've got the money he's got, he's got the skills to do it, but I'd be surprised is the truth.
"Conor is great, but it's also his first real run at 155 but he skipped the whole division, and even though the fight was at 170, the first 55er he fought was Nate Diaz.
"He lost that first fight. At 45' his size advantage, his reach and everything was a bigger factor, at 55' it's less of an issue.
"The fighters are stronger, they're a lot taller, I just think it's a tougher division in general.
"I think if he had to fight his way up in 55, he wouldn't have made it to the title. There's too many bad match ups for him."
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