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Islam Makhachev’s coach: If UFC were a true sport, Beneil Dariush (not Alexander Volkanovski) would get title shot

While it has not yet been made official by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) matchmakers, Alexander Volkanovski is in line to challenge newly-crowned Lightweight champion, Islam Mkahachev, for the title, possibly at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, in Feb. 2023.

The two men wasted little time promoting the “super” fight as “The Great” stepped into the Octagon shortly after Makhachev’s second round submission win over Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi (see it again here).

Should that fight come to pass it will leave Beneil Dariush out in the cold, who should’ve stamped his ticket to a title fight after defeating Mateusz Gamrot (also at UFC 280), extending his win streak to eight. But, since UFC isn't a “true sport,” the promotion is going with entertainment value.

That’s according to Javier Mendez, Makhachev’s coach, who says Dariush has proven he is the rightful owner of the next shot.

“Now, who is actually in my opinion more deserving from a true professional sport-sport? But this is not a true sport, this is an entertainment sport,” Mendez stated during a recent interview with Submission Radio. “So, from a true sport, Dariush deserves it. He 100 percent deserves the next shot.

“But, because this is an entertainment sport, the fans want to see Alex and Islam go for it, because the pound-for-pound king versus the new king in the Lightweight division,” he continued. “Let’s see if the pound-for-pound king can take that lightweight title. Which, hey, he’s the pound-for-pound for a reason, right?”

For his part, Dariush was bummed after hearing about the possibility of getting passed over for what he feels is rightfully his.

“It was a bummer, it sucks,” Dariush said. “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.”

Still, Mendez isn’t discounting Volkanovski as a champion and worthy challenger.

“He’s cleared out his division and he keeps getting better and better. And what better way to have two guys that are actually gonna be professional all the way through. They got a great camp. I’ve spoken nothing but highly about who they are as a camp and how they are as a team, and I still stick by what I say.”

Again, nothing is official at the moment and since anything can happen in the blink of an eye in mixed martial arts (MMA), it would be in Dariush’s best interest to stay ready. Furthermore, it is likely that UFC will likely enlist his services to serve as backup for Makhachev vs. Volkanovski, which means he will get paid to show up and make weight.

For complete UFC 280 results and coverage click here.

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