Beneil Dariush may have missed his opportunity to face Islam Makhachev ... at least in a non-title bout.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight title is officially up for grabs after uncrowned kingpin, Charles Oliveira, missed weight by a half-pound ahead of his recent outing against Justin Gaethje. Despite the pre-fight drama, Oliveira handled his business as he has been for his past 11 fights, finishing Gaethje in roughly three minutes via first round rear-naked choke submission (watch highlights).
With that result, it looks likely that fans could see “Do Bronx” tasked with the also streaking Islam Makhachev next. Last scheduled to face Makhachev, another top-ranked contender, Dariush sees his Dagestani foe just edging it out in the potential match up.
“It’s hard to say because we’ve never really seen Islam under pressure with striking,” Dariush told Helen Yee. “Charles has the ability to do that. He’s so offensive. He’s 100 percent offense, which is really exciting to watch. The question is gonna be can he take Charles down and can he be able to apply that pressure and break him? If Charles is as aggressive as I think he’s going to be, it’s gonna be difficult for Islam to close the distance which makes things trickier. It’s not that simple of an equation.
“It’s really exciting if the fight does happen,” he concluded. “Obviously, I’d rather get the fight but if not, I think it’s a really exciting fight. I would lean towards Islam but not by much, like by a hair.”
Dariush and Makhachev were set to square off in Feb. 2022 until an ankle injury forced the Iran native from the bout, which led to Bobby Green as his replacement. Makhachev won the fight via first-round technical knockout (watch highlights).
Nothing is official yet atop the Lightweight division and UFC President, Dana White, remains interested in rebooking Makhachev vs. Dariush. Regardless of how things shake out, it’s an exciting time in the 155-pound waters.