While the promotion has yet to make it official, it appears as though reigning featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski will get an opportunity to join the “champ champ” club when he challenges newly-crowned lightweight titleholder Islam Makhachev, a unique clash of styles that could take place as part of the UFC 284 pay-per-view (PPV) in Perth.
Just don’t expect surging lightweight contender Beneil Dariush to celebrate the news.
The 33 year-old Dariush, winner of eight straight, turned away top 155-pound prospect Mateusz Gamrot on the UFC 280 main card last weekend in Abu Dhabi, the same event that saw Makhachev submit Charles Oliveira to capture the division crown.
UFC staged an impromptu Makhachev-Volkanovski staredown to close the show.
“It was a bummer, it sucks,” Dariush told Submission Radio. “I figured I put on a good show, maybe this was enough to maybe tip the scale back in my favor, but I guess not. Which is whatever. Nothing’s changed. I mean, does it sound like I’m getting the title shot? I don’t think so. So, maybe I’m getting some extra credit here and there from people, but I think still no title shot. And just, if anything, people are probably like, ‘maybe Gamrot wasn’t as good as we thought?’ But obviously he’s a stud and that’s just the way it goes for me.”
One of the biggest obstacles for Dariush (22-4-1) appears to be himself. Despite finishing four of his last eight wins by way of knockout or submission, the Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt has failed to market himself as a viable contender, insisting he won’t “beg for a title shot.”
“I think that’s probably the issue here,” Dariush continued. “If I was a little bit more upset about everything, if I started complaining a little bit more I think people would actually take me more seriously. I think the fact that everything I kind of just shrug it off, people don’t know how to take that. It throws them off. And so that’s just the way things are going, I guess.”
The victory over Gamrot is unlikely to push Dariush into the division Top 5 but it should certainly be enough to secure a fight against Charles Oliveira or Rafael Fiziev. That said, Dariush would prefer to play rebound for the recovering “Do Bronx” next Feb. in Australia.
“Charles would be great, but is Charles gonna be ready? Because is he gonna be in the mindset of where he wants to fight again? If not, Charles, like, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think the top five are really interested,” Dariush continued. “If Dustin Poirier or Michael Chandler, if one of them wins, I don’t think they’ll want to face me. Rafael Fiziev, however you say his last name. He’s good, man. I like that fight too. But, yeah, we’ll see. I don’t hate that fight. Ideally Charles would be better. I was talking to my wife about it, I’m kind of excited for it. I’d love to go to Australia too and do it there.”
For more UFC 280 results and fallout click here.