Dustin Poirier's coach Mike Brown believes Conor McGregor was wrong to accept a rematch having won the rivals' first bout in 2014.
McGregor was the one who initially pushed for a second fight between the pair towards the end of 2020, initially wanting to do the match as a 'free-to-air spar', before their bout at UFC 257 was confirmed.
And Poirier's coach Brown, a former world champion fighter in his own right and now one of the most respected cornermen at American Top Team, has admitted he was surprised when the Irishman floated the idea of doing another bout.
Speaking to Mirror Fighting ahead of their UFC 264 trilogy, Brown said that given his initial dominant win over Poirier, he was shocked that McGregor would come back for more against one of MMA's most feared fighters.
"To be honest, for a long time, I thought there was no way Conor would ever fight him again," Brown said. "I thought it was a mistake [from McGregor].
"I know how good Dustin is and if you had a win over him already, finished him, it's like 'man, you dodged a bullet', but I wouldn't want to stare down that barrel again.
"But he did, props to him, he's Conor McGregor and he's not afraid of challenges, he likes big pressure and swinging at the big pitches, and he did it."
Brown will be in Poirier's corner for the trilogy, as he was for the rematch in January 2017, and praised the Irishman for his courage in getting back in the cage with the American, despite the possible bad outcome.
Poirier won their second fight with an incredible second round knockout of McGregor, the first time the Irishman was put out in his career.
"Maybe it's not a mistake, maybe it's courageous in a way," Brown continued.
"I'm surprised because a lot of guys, if they had a quick win, a first-round finish over one of the very best fighters in the world it's dangerous to do it again.
"It'd be the same if he fought Aldo again, it's never going to get better than that so you would find it very difficult to do that against a very good guy, one of the world's best. Props to him for taking it.
"Now, it's not the same circumstances as before, I think it's great because now he wants the rematch but the first time I was surprised he took it.
"Dustin is very dangerous, he's a guy you don't want to sleep on."
Brown confirmed that Poirier turned down a title fight to face McGregor in a big money third bout, but says that new champion Charles Oliveira will face the winner in his first defence.
BT Sport Box Office will show UFC 264: McGregor v Poirier 3 exclusively live on Saturday ,July 10.
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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