CONOR McGREGOR has been urged by his training partner to fight Dustin Poirier NEXT – but only after changing styles.
McGregor marked his return after 12 months absent in January, but was stunned by Poirier, who he initially knocked out in 2014.
The Irishman is now facing questions over his fighting future, but has made it clear he wants to complete their series right away.
With the 32-tear-old pair tied at one apiece, gym-mate Frans Mlambo has backed McGregor to jump straight into a lucrative trilogy decider and settle the score.
Mlambo told SunSport: “I kind of want the rematch as soon as possible.
“But, it doesn’t seem likely straight away, given that Poirier is performing so good, he has the title to go after and he might see that as his priority.
“On the other hand, financially it would be a good move for all involved.
“The reason I’m saying is just how the two fights went, the first time he rolled over Poirier and then the second time it was the other way round.
“Now they’re at a stalemate and I conclude a rematch is fitting in that situation.”
Before McGregor was KO’d for the first time in his UFC career, his third in total in the octagon, the southpaw started promisingly in round one.
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But right away it was clear he had adopted a boxing-based stance, opposed to his famed elusive karate style.
McGregor spent the start of his training camp in Portugal, before stints in Ireland and Dubai ahead of his UFC 257 headliner in Abu Dhabi.
Mlambo remembers the superstar’s early days spent honing his craft in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.
And he has called on McGregor to go back to his roots and rediscover his old fighting form to inspire him before rematching Poirier once more.
Mlambo said: “Before the rematch I think Conor needs to go back to Iceland.
“I remember back in the day before he went into the UFC, he went to Iceland and when he came back everything transformed, his body type, his movement.
“But with this fight he had more of a boxing stance, he was moving different and I feel like his shots he throws out there weren’t as crisp.
“I’d go to Iceland and take the Poirier fight straight away.
“Whatever was done in this new camp, going back to a boxing style, it just didn’t go as well as planned.”
McGregor is again facing doubts over where his next move lies.
Those same questions were posed when he was beaten for the first time in the UFC, against Nate Diaz in March 2016.
McGregor responded emphatically, avenging defeat five months later to redeem himself, even closing out the year by winning the lightweight title.
But UFC president Dana White and commentator Joe Rogan both probed the multimillionaire’s desire, having already made a fortune in and out of the cage.
Mlambo hit back, however, and argued McGregor’s passion cannot come under question as he continues to fight on despite his soaring net worth.
And the Bellator featherweight promised The Notorious is still motivated to enhance his reputation, ending any concerns of another retirement.
Mlambo explained: “I don’t understand why anyone would need to question his desire, if he didn’t have the desire to fight again he wouldn’t.
“Training to cut weight, that’s a horrible process, to put yourself through all that while you know you don’t have to is something else.
“He does not ever have to step in the cage again – he knows that and he knows everybody knows that.
“The reason he’s still fighting is because he wants to and he loves it. I think he’s serious when he says he’s hungry and I can see that.
“He still wants to achieve more in the fight game, his aim is to absolutely solidify his spot in history, which most people think he has already done but he doesn’t.”