UFClightweight contender Beneil Dariush has admitted it’s frustrating not to be granted a title shot despite his impressive run in the division.
Since 2018, Dariush has been on fire. After a majority draw against Evan Dunham and defeats toEdson Barbozaand Alexander Hernandez left him 0-2-1 in three fights, the Iranian-born American found the form of his life, building a seven-fight win streak that started against Thiago Moisés at UFC Fight Night 139.
Further victories over Drew Dober and Frank Camacho, and highlight-reel knockouts of Drakkar Klose and Scott Holtzman, brought Dariush into the top 15, before decision triumphs against Brazilian veteran Diego Ferreiraand former interim champ Tony Fergusoncemented his place in the top five and title contention.
Following his win against “El Cucuy” at UFC 262 earlier this year, many expected Dariush to be top of the queue for a championship opportunity. Instead, the 32-year-old found himselfunable to find a high-ranked opponent for DecemberwhilstDustin Poirierchallenged for the title, and seemingly leapfrogged byJustin Gaethjeafter his memorable success against Chandler last month atUFC 268.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai black belt will now have to get through surging Dagestani contenderIslam Makhachevto secure a date with the titleholder. Inan interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, Dariush admitted the “businessman” in him was disappointed and frustrated at the snub. However, the Makhachev booking has got him roaring again.
“The thing is, as a business man, for sure it bothers me. Like, it’s annoying. I did everything I needed to do to get this title shot. It’s not fair. But man, I’m not that much of a businessman. That part of me, it was like, a little bit of a scratch, but the dog in me when I hear like, ‘Makhachev, this guy, the guy, this is the best guy,’ when I hear about this, that part of me is like, ‘Let’s go!’ I’ve got fire in me, man. I’m training all the time but when I heard Makhachev, I was like, ‘Let’s go, man’. I’m, stoked on this.”
Dariush Expects Title Shot With Makhachev Win
While Gaethje apparently set for the next shot, Dariush will turn his attention to an equally in-form contender. The 32-year-oldwill meet fellow top-five lightweight star Makhachev in the main event of a UFC Fight Night on February 26.
Having missed out on a long-awaited title shot to this point, Dariush believes a victory over the highly-touted Dagestani will be enough to book his place opposite the titleholder later in the year.
“I think so, that’s what it seems like, right? I just don’t see who would be, If I win this fight, like, who am I gonna fight next? Am I gonna fight Chandler? Is he gonna get another chance at the title? I don’t understand who else is there. Or like, do I have to fight Poirier? Who is there? Do I have to fight Charles (Oliveira)? We’ll see. I feel like I’m gonna be number one contender, yeah.”
Do you expect the winner of Beneil Dariush vs. Islam Makhachev to fight for the title later in 2022?