Beneil Dariush is one victory away from preventing for the UFC light-weight title.
Standing in his means is Charles Oliveira, whose success over the previous three years within the division is rivaled by solely that of present light-weight champion Islam Makhachev.
But Oliveira and Makhachev aren’t the one ones who’ve strung collectively unstoppable stretches. Despite being continuously neglected, Dariush (22-4-1) has gained seven fights in a row. If he defeats Oliveira (33–9, 1 NC) on Saturday at UFC 289, he might be on the entrance of the road to problem Makhachev.
“For the first time, I was told that I’m getting the title shot if I win this fight,” says Dariush. “That’s the first time I’ve ever been told that. Otherwise, I’d be thinking about other fights—like what would happen to the winner of Dustin Poirier and Justin Garthje, or even Conor McGregor’s fight—but I’m not worried about any of that now. I know what I have to do.”
Following Dariush’s one-sided dismantling of Tony Ferguson in May 2021, he didn’t struggle for 15 months. He hung out at dwelling with household (“Being a father has made me even more disciplined,” says Dariush, “bringing joy to my life, and making me a better fighter, too”), and needed to miss a bout towards Makhachev as a result of an ankle harm. When he lastly returned, his opponent was the red-hot Mateusz Gamrot, who had entered on a four-fight win streak.
Gamrot was the chances favourite in that bout, which infuriated Dariush.
“That bothered me,” says Dariush. “I understand why he was a big favorite. A lot of people think Arman Tsarukyan is a future champion, and Gamrot had just beaten him. So he looked like a world-beater, and then you look at me—I’m only 34, but I look like I’m 50. But I’m not worried about what people think. I know the gifts God has given me, and I’m focused on what I can do to sharpen those gifts before I step into battle.”
Dariush unleashed his full arsenal towards Gamrot, successful the bout by unanimous determination on the identical evening that Makhachev defeated Oliveira for the light-weight belt. That loss ended an 11-fight win streak for Oliveira, who Dariush holds in particularly excessive regard.
“Charles is absolutely amazing,” says Dariush, who was initially alleged to struggle Oliveira in May, however the struggle was postponed as a result of an Oliveira harm. “I think he’s one of the best fighters of all time. I learn so much watching him. He has overcome so many challenges. Look at the obstacles he overcame as champion.”
Respect apart, Dariush believes his talent set has surpassed Oliveira’s, each on the bottom and standing.
“I don’t see Charles doing anything I can’t handle,” says Dariush. “Once we’re in the Octagon, people will see the difference. I’m not walking in with any fear. That’s the opposite of faith. I’m entering with the faith that I can overcome him.”
On the precipice of greatness, Dariush is hungry for a title shot. Given the chance, he believes his model and method match up favorably towards Makhachev’s.
“If I get the opportunity, I will overcome Islam,” says Dariush. “I truly believe that.”
The goal is evident for Dariush. He should beat Oliveira at UFC 289 to lastly get a shot on the title.
“The mindset is simple: Either kill or die,” says Dariush. “You’re going to see every level of martial arts cultivated to the highest level. I’m looking to be victorious against one of the best in the world.”