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Paul Felder favors Beneil Dariush as bigger threat to Charles Oliveira than Islam Makhachev

UFC Fan Experience Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Charles Oliveira has been a seemingly impossible puzzle to solve during his current run.

At UFC 274 this past month (May 7, 2022), Oliveira extended his win streak to a lengthy 11 straight, adding his tenth finish to his recent ridiculous run (watch highlights). As the fighter with the most submissions in UFC history, “Do Bronx” has also proven to be a considerably difficult foe to dance with on the feet.

Despite losing his Lightweight title on the scale ahead of UFC 274, Oliveira hasn’t lost inside the Octagon since Dec. 2017 against Paul Felder (watch highlights). Now, working the desk as a commentator and analyst, “The Irish Dragon” has had plenty of time to break down the division and sees perhaps an unlikely candidate as the one to topple Oliveira.

“I am retired, so it can’t be me, but dare I say someone like Beneil Dariush is more of a threat to [Oliveira’s] particular style,” Felder told MMA Fighting. “Because — and vice versa, I said the same thing when Khabib [Nurmagomedov] was still around — I always said that I thought Charles would be one of the bigger threats to him because of his style and the way he grapples and accepts bottom position, but is so dangerous from there.”

Oliveira’s next bout is expected to be for the vacant 155-pound championship, but it’s undetermined as to who that may be against. With Russia’s Islam Makhachev also on a long 10-fight win streak, he stands tall as the likely next title challenger, but UFC President, Dana White, is still seemingly intrigued by having him face the aforementioned Dariush first. The two were supposed to meet in February, until Dariush suffered a leg injury, leading to Bobby Green entering as his replacement.

“I think a guy like Charles, you’ve got to get somebody [like Dariush],” Felder said. “The way he ran through Tony [Ferguson] was impressive. I think Beneil [is a threat to Oliveira], even more so than Makhachev, just because [Makhachev] going to try and wrestle him, and Charles he has a way around those kinds of exchanges.

“It doesn’t matter if you have great takedown defense against Charles Oliveira,” he continued. “He will find a way to your back. I’m going to throw a big Hail Mary out there and say my pick [to beat Oliveira] is Beneil Dariush.”

Dariush last fought in May 2021, extending his win streak to seven with a dominant unanimous decision against Tony Ferguson (watch highlights).