Former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira knows what it’s like to be a thirsty title contender campaigning for a crack at the 155-pound crown, which is why No. 6-ranked Beneil Dariush doesn’t understand how the “hypocritical” Brazilian can justify his pursuit of mythical paydays.
Like the one afforded by “rich” Conor McGregor, who remains the sport’s top draw.
“He’s talking about wanting to fight Conor, and he talks about how these guys never gave him a shot when he was outside the top five, blah, blah, blah,” Dariush said on The Fighter vs. The Writer. “We were supposed to fight October of 2020. I have a fight contract, I can post a picture of it. I was supposed to fight Charles, and he pulled out of the fight, and then a couple months later, instead of fighting me, he fought Tony Ferguson.”
“He said something about family issues and I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, he didn’t fight me, I can’t believe it.’ Family comes first, I understand that,” Dariush continued. “But the same thing people did to him, he’s doing to me. He was supposed to fight me, bailed, ran and fought Tony Ferguson. Now, instead of fighting actual contenders, he wants to go fight Conor? He wants to go fight Nate Diaz? This is hypocritical. This is the only thing that’s bothering me.”
Dariush (21-4-1) is the winner of seven straight with four nasty finishes. He was last seen turning away former interim champion Tony Ferguson at UFC 262 and understands his recent injury timeout may result in a non-title fight against fellow top contender Islam Makhachev.
Assuming the Dagestani grappler doesn’t get the next shot at Oliveira.
“There’s two clear contenders in front of you, and you’re trying to chase a unicorn,” Dariush continued. “No one knows when Conor is going to fight again. The guy might not even fight this year. Make it make sense. It just doesn’t make sense. Listen, if I have to fight Islam, cool. I told the UFC I’d be ready in August or September. I’ve been told that Islam wants to wait right now for the Abu Dhabi card [in October]. Okay, whatever, if I have to wait until then, I’ll fight him then.”
A lot depends on the recovery timeline of McGregor. “Notorious” is still healing from a broken leg suffered against Dustin Poirier last summer and could be out of action until early 2023, which means Oliveira would end up sitting on the bench for the rest of the year (or longer).
“If Charles is just waiting to fight Conor, that makes no sense,” Dariush said. “We’re both here. We’re both ready to fight for the title. It’s annoying. I’m rarely frustrated because I understand that it’s all a popularity contest and there’s a lot of politics in the game. I get it. But it’s the first time I’ve been so frustrated with another fighter. You’re literally doing the things you said other people did to you, so I don’t get it.”
Still lots of pieces to this 155-pound puzzle.