Mike Brown vows Dustin Poirier fully committed to ‘kill, crush and destroy’ Benoit Saint Denis at UFC 299

Dustin Poirier remains one of the top lightweights in the world despite a recent loss to Justin Gaethje, and he never seems far away from putting himself back into title contention.

That’s why his upcoming fight at UFC 299 was met with some confusion after Poirier was matched up with Benoit Saint Denis, who’s widely regarded as a serious prospect at 155 pounds but also someone who remains largely unproven without any significant wins over any top-10 ranked opponents. Rather than climb up that ladder, Saint Denis gets the chance to jump right to the front of the line when he clashes with Poirier on Saturday.

According to Mike Brown, who has served as Poirier’s head coach for several years, he says there was no hesitation in accepting the fight, even with the high-risk, low-reward potential for beating a less established opponent.

“I know what you’re saying about the risk-reward, all of that. But at the end of the day, Dustin, I think this is his 30th UFC fight, so he’s done and seen it all,” Brown told MMA Fighting. “At this point, he’s experienced all kinds of types of matchups, so for him, I don’t think that stuff matters anymore.

“I think that he’s literally seen everything they can throw at him. He’s in a different place completely. To him, he’s still trying to show that he’s capable of beating anyone on the planet and he’s willing to fight anybody on the planet. It’s a tough challenge and it’s one Dustin’s comfortable taking.”

In the immediate aftermath of his loss to Gaethje last year, Poirier admitted that he wasn’t all that interested in jumping back into the fray to face a long list of rising contenders. He openly stated that he had turned down a fight offered to him against Beneil Dariush in the past because he just didn’t get “excited” about it.

It’s safe to say that Saint Denis hasn’t accomplished as much at lightweight as a veteran like Dariush, so is there a chance that Poirier isn’t as motivated by this fight?

“He’s a veteran like no other,” Brown said of Poirier. “This is his 30th UFC fight. I think he’s in the top 12 or something like that for victories or fights. There’s not many guys that have done it more than he has, and the quality of guys he’s seen in that. He’s seen it all. This guy is not afraid of a challenge. He has never been a guy to go into a fight half-heartedly or not 100 percent or not with all intentions to kill, crush, and destroy.

“He’s gifted with amazing conditioning and amazing power. He’s always had those things, and as you mature, you just gain more and more knowledge and skill. He’s a bad dude and can take anybody. We’re confident in the matchup.”

A quick look at Poirier’s résumé shows that he’s taken on any number of tough challenges in his career, and he’s left a lot broken bodies in the wake of his destruction over the years.

If anything, Brown says Poirier has long since proven where he stands in the division, and that the real curiosity in this fight surrounds Saint Denis and where he fits in the hierarchy at 155 pounds.

“There’s questions to be asked,” Brown said. “Obviously, [Saint Denis] has an impressive résumé. He’s done what he’s supposed to do. He has one loss, no shame in that loss. It was at welterweight. He’s finished everybody he’s ever beaten, but he hasn’t fought the caliber of fighters Dustin has.

“We’ll see what happens when he steps up and fights that next tier, that top-level athlete, that top of the food chain fighter. Those are the questions that need to be asked, and those are the questions that will be answered on Saturday.”

That being said, Brown still had a lot of praise to offer to Saint Denis based upon the body of work he’s studied to get Poirier ready for this fight.

Saint Denis may not have faced the same level of competition as Poirier yet, and he has far less experience in comparison to the former interim lightweight champion, but he’s demolished every lightweight the UFC has thrown at him thus far, which is exactly why he’s getting this opportunity.

“He’s a big finisher,” Brown said. “He’s finished 100 percent of his victories, so he’s an exciting guy. He’s got power, he’s got [submissions].

“I’ve watched him and I had seen him in the past, but when I started like delving deeper, started watching more film, I was like dang, I can’t believe I wasn’t watching this guy closer. Because he is super exciting and really fun to watch.”