Beneil Dariush has an opportunity to cement his place among the top lightweight contenders with a victory over former interim champion Tony Ferguson in the UFC 262 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event this Sat. night (May 15) in Houston, Texas.
But when it comes to an actual title shot, Dariush won’t be holding his breath.
Probably because No. 1-ranked Dustin Poirier will be fighting former 155-pound titleholder Conor McGregor in the UFC 264 headliner in July, with the winner moving on to battle the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler, who also compete at UFC 262.
“I don’t think this makes me No. 1 contender,” Dariush told MMA Fighting. “I know it’s weird to say just because you have a seven-fight win streak but I just don’t think it’s going to make me No. 1 contender. I think Dustin will be ahead of me still. I think even if Conor wants it, even if he loses, he’ll be ahead of me. So if Dustin wins, I think he gets the title shot. If Conor wins, I think he gets the title shot. Justin Gaethje is still there. I’m not in a rush. I watched Max Holloway get 10 [wins] in a row before a title shot, so if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.”
Dariush, who turned 32 earlier this month, is the winner of six straight with four of those victories coming by way of knockout or submission. The Californian recently improved to 20-4-1 with a split decision victory over the rough-and-tumble Diego Ferreira at UFC Fight Night 184 last February in Las Vegas.
He’s currently ranked No. 9 at 155 pounds.
Ferguson (25-5), now 37, was bounced from the lightweight title chase after Justin Gaethje put him out to pasture at UFC 249 back in May 2020. “El Cucuy” would try to rebound against Charles Oliveira later that year, but got shut down across all three rounds en route to a lopsided unanimous decision defeat.
As of this writing, Dariush remains a -185 betting favorite.