Beneil Dariush recently won his eighth straight fight in the loaded Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight division, defeating Mateusz Gamrot via unanimous decision at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi just last month.
However, he ended up somewhat of a “loser” once the dust settled on “Fight Island.”
After Islam Makhachev defeated Charles Oliveira to win the vacant 155-pound strap (highlights), Featherweight roost-ruler, Alexander Volkanovski, jumped into the Octagon to respond to the new champion’s challenge, meaning Dariush — who is ranked No. 4 — was once again the odd man out in the title picture.
But, don’t expect the streaking Lightweight to sit and pout because he plans to stay busy instead of waiting around for his much-deserved championship fight to roll around. And he already has a few names in mind.
“I guess right now my options are the winner of Dustin Poirier [and Michael Chandler], Charles [Oliveira], or [Rafael} Fiziev,” Dariush said on Morning Kombat (via MMA Junkie). “Those are the three options.… Those are great fights, so let’s just figure this out and move forward.”
Should Volkanovski and Makhachev be booked to headline UFC 284 in Feb. 2023 in Perth, Australia, it could mean that the winner of that fight likely won’t return to action until later that year. That is an awfully long time for Dariush to sit without a fight … and a paycheck.
“I don’t want to sit out for another eight months, nine months, 1.5 years,” he said. “I love fighting. I just want to fight. You’re not gonna be able to dangle the belt in front of me. The belt doesn’t make me feel special.
“I know who I am, I know what I’m worth, and I know what God has put me on this Earth to do,” Dariush continued. “So, the belt is cool, I’d love to get it, but ideally, I just want to make sure I don’t waste my talents, so I want to get back in there as soon as I can.”
Chandler and Poirier are set to throw down at the upcoming UFC 281 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Nov. 12, 2022, and it could very well set up the winner to take on Dariush for the No. 1 contender spot. A fight against Oliveira also makes sense, but there is no telling when “Do Bronx” would want to return after his suffering his first loss in five years.
Dariush — who hasn’t tasted defeat in more than four years — lost out on a big opportunity to face Makhachev earlier this year as a result of an unfortunate ankle injury. He was replaced by Bobby Green on short notice, who went on to lose to the newly-crowned champion.