DUSTIN POIRIER is becoming familiar with preparing to fight Conor McGregor.
The American faces McGregor in a trilogy bout on Saturday as the pair headline UFC 264 in Las Vegas.
Poirier has, as always, trained for the immediate rematch in his American Top Team gym, based in Florida.
Alongside head coach Mike Brown, boxing trainer Dyah Davis, ex-UFC fighter Thiago Alves also makes up another member of the team.
Brazilian Alves, now a champion in bare-knuckle boxing, was credited with helping Poirier's in his masterclass of leg kicks against McGregor in January.
That night, Poirier avenged his 2014 loss to the Irishman with a brutal knockout of his own in the second round.
And despite mapping out the perfect game plan to nullify McGregor's offence, Alves insisted you can never rest on your laurels.
He told SunSport: "We're always changing, we're always improving, we learn from our past mistakes and always trying to get better.
"DP became a much better fighter last time he stepped into the octagon, so now we have to step up again and add new weapons.
"Even though we're fighting this guy a third time, it's a brand new fight."
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McGregor's KO of Poirier helped on his road to superstardom, where he bemused opponents with his elusive style and pinpoint punching.
But in their rematch, he admitted to having adopted too much of a boxing-based style and faced calls to reintroduce his former tactics.
It could make preparing for the former two-weight champion a headache, second guessing what approach to prepare for.
But Alves and the team do not listen to the noise, and instead believe McGregor is far easier to suss out.
'SOUNDS LIKE EXCUSES'
He explained: "Conor McGregor is very predictable.
"When he first came onto the scene, yeah he was kind of surprising guys. We already know he's for real and one of the best guys in the world.
"Either way he moves, we understand his patterns, he says he had more of a boxing approach to the fight, that sounds like excuses to us."
Another part of Poirier's team is strength coach Phil Daru, a former fighter who has helped in their development from moving up to lightweight.
The pair have worked together for over five years, spanning across 12 fights, with Poirier more at ease than ever before.
Daru revealed: "He's relaxed and confident in the most respectful way.
"He's confident in his abilities and he's also not taking anything that Conor does lightly, he definitely respects Conor when it comes down to the fight game.
"He's real calm, a lot more than usual. The Khabib fight was definitely an eye opener for him I believe.
'HE'S MORE AT PEACE'
"Winning the last fight against Conor, he's more at peace, he doesn't want to get in to too much drama, he just wants to do what he does best and that's fight in the cage."
Poirier scored the victory of his career after becoming the first to ever KO McGregor in the UFC.
But Alves also warned they are ready for the long-game this time around, which he feels suits them regardless.
He said: "I see DP getting his hand raised by any means necessary.
"I don't know how the fight is going to play out but we are prepared for a 25-minute war.
"And the longer the fight goes, the better for DP, so I know we're going to be victorious."
Daru added: "It's hard man, but I'd like to see him with a submission victory in the second or third round.
"I'd like to see him take him deeper into the waters, touch him up a bit, still show his boxing, still show his abilities on the feet.
"I almost want to say Conor's going to try and take him down or at least go for it.
"I don't know why, but I just feel like he's going to mix it up a bit and try to catch him by surprise.
"Dustin's takedown defence is solid. The only guy to really take him down was Khabib and he takes everybody down.
"I'd like to see maybe a sprawl, maybe get him in a guillotine or a rear naked choke, something like that."
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