After winning his sixth fight in a row at UFC Vegas 18 last night (Sat., Feb. 6, 2021), Beneil Dariush has become something of a dark horse contender in the stacked Lightweight division. That’s two wins behind Charles Oliveira, who currently holds the longest streak in the division and is finally getting the respect he deserves after beating Tony Ferguson.
We doubt Dariush will be getting the same love following a gutsy back-and-forth against Carlos Diego Ferreira, but hopefully it will finally earn Dariush a highly ranked opponent and a path toward a title shot.
While Dariush made matchmaking the core of his post-fight interview, he got more personal during the post-fight press conference, detailing the highs and lows he’s gone through with family over the past 12 months.
“My thing is I want to fight late April or May,” he said. “I’m going to have a daughter in June. So I just want to fight before she comes so I can spend time with her. That means the world to me right now.”
“I thought I was done crying for this week,” he said when asked if it was his first child. “So when they gave me the [UFC Honors] prize, I turned into a little baby. We had a miscarriage last year, so when they put that trophy in front of me for “Comeback of the Year,” that was all I could think about was that baby that I never got to meet. I never got to meet my baby, never got to give you a name, but I loved him dearly. And I’m going to love you forever. So this is, I guess, my second baby.”
“After my fight with Scott [Holtzman in Aug. 2020], one week later I was back into sprints because I thought I was fighting Charles [Oliveira],” Dariush continued. “And I was worried about breaking down and running out of juice. And maybe a couple weeks later my wife told me we’re pregnant. And the first thing that came into my mind, I was a little bit scared. But at the same time I was so excited.
“You have to understand, when our miscarriage happened, I had to act tough in front of my wife because she was really down so I had to just constantly build her up. And when I heard the news this second time I had to do the same thing, build her up. But as time went on and it became real and all of a sudden the sonogram and the heart, she’s kicking all the time. It’s so real that I never even thought about burning out again. I thought to myself ‘I can train day and night and whatever I got to do I’ll do to get back in here and win.’”
While Dariush used his post-fight mic time to pitch UFC on signing his teammate Michael Perez, he said he had originally planned on using it to thank boxing legend Mike Tyson for being an inspiration for all those going through hard times. Tyson’s career and personal life infamously went down in flames in the early 2000s before he managed to stabilize and sort himself out (with the help of psychedelics). In 2009, tragedy struck again when Tyson’s daughter died in a freak accident. He clawed his way back out of alcoholism to where he is now mentally and business-wise.
“I actually had a whole different thought process for the interview and what I was going to say at the end,” Dariush said. “I asked Dana White and Mick Maynard to put in Michael Perez, but I wanted to actually dedicate this fight to Mike Tyson. I don’t get to see Mike Tyson a lot face to face, I’ll see him once in a blue moon. My coach works with him, you know? He doesn’t realize how many people he’s inspired. My coach, every day he comes into the gym since he started working with Mike, there’s a new level, a new shine to him, a new level of energy that he gets just working with Tyson.
“And I don’t know Mike realizes this, but because of the hardships he’s gone down, and he’s gone up, and he’s gone way down, and he’s gone way up, he has this character that people want to be around and they get so much out of it,” he continued. “The trials he’s gone through and overcome, God has blessed him with this aura. So I was going to dedicate this fight to Mike but I decided to shout out Perez because he’s a teammate and I think he deserves a shot. But I wanted to take this moment and say Mike, I don’t know you but I’m grateful for you. God bless you.”