McGregor and Poirier meet for the third time this weekend with each man boasting a victory over the other. ‘Notorious’ secured a first round TKO win in their first meeting back in 2014 while on the rise to becoming the biggest name in mixed martial arts.
Poirier secured revenge last January however, knocking out the Dubliner in the second round.
McGregor is seeking redemption and the win that will propel him back towards the summit of UFC where lightweight champion Charles Oliveira awaits the winner.
But Poirier’s long-time head coach Brown insists the American is coming into the contest with a determination and will to win that cannot be taught.
‘This is what Dustin has made a career out of,’ Brown told Metro.co.uk. ‘He is able to dig deep when times are tough, when both guys are a bloody mess. He is a guy that pushes on, pushes through the rest. It is not easy. I don’t think you can learn to do that, it is a gift.
‘He is mentally strong with great conditioning and if he is not out cold, he is coming after you. Whether he has got a broken arm or a broken leg, he’s like the Terminator trying to kill you.’
McGregor, by his own admission, was guilty of taking the second fight lightly with his focus also on a boxing match with Manny Pacquiao which was already set in motion at the time.
The Dubliner was punished, picked off by Poirier’s vicious leg kicks that slowed him down midway through the second round before being stopped by a barrage of punches.
Brown and his team expect adjustments from McGregor but believe their man’s superior skillset will expose other gaps.
‘Some weaknesses will still be there, some won’t,’ Brown said of McGregor.
‘It is more about Dustin’s skillset and what he is capable of and applying it to whoever he is fighting. It is not about worrying about what Conor is going to do, it is about doing what Dustin does. I believe he is the best lightweight in the world and I believe he can beat anybody if he is healthy and is in shape.’
‘January was both men’s last fight so that is where they get their best blueprint from. We saw it then. But I’m sure Conor has made some major adjustments and we anticipate that. I’m sure this third fight will be much different to the first two.’
Charles Oliveira stopped Michael Chandler to take the lightweight title vacated by the now retired Khabib Nurmagomedov in May with the winner of McGregor vs Poirier III likely to be next in line for a shot.
Poirier could have fought for the belt that night but instead opted to settle things with his old rival. Confident his fighter made the right call, Brown believes both Poirier and McGregor beat the Brazilian, who is expected to be cage-side on Saturday.
‘I think this is the best guy, whoever wins this should be champion,’ Brown said. ‘I think whoever wins is fighting for the title and will likely be the favourite in the fight against Oliveira.
‘Dustin knows the importance of this fight and what a title shot would mean. There are a lot of different things here at stake. A lot of forces pulling in different ways. But I think this was the right move and I think the title shot will be there immediately after the fight. Whenever he wants it, he is the one in control.’
Having lost two of this last three fights in the octagon, McGregor has been faced with questions over his long-term future with the UFC heading into the fight.
Retiring one of the biggest MMA stars of all-time has not come into the thinking within the Poirier camp, however.
‘I don’t think it is about that. It is just about winning and moving on and becoming the best fighter in the world,’ Brown continued.
‘I don’t think it is anything super personal. Every fight is so important and so is the next one.
‘With Conor’s charisma and what he has done for the sport and Dustin maybe being the most exciting fighter we have ever seen, you put those two things together and you’ve got a nuclear explosion going on.
‘It is a big magnitude fight but at the end of the day its about being the best fighter in the world and winning that next fight in front of you.’
BT Sport Box Office will show UFC 264: McGregor v Poirier 3 exclusively live on Saturday 10th July. UFC 264 can be watched on BT TV, Virgin Media TV, Sky, online via the web or the BT Sport Box Office App and is available to buy at www.bt.com/sportboxoffice
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