Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White gave reigning featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski permission to do “whatever he wants” after racking up a flawless record at 145 pounds, so “The Great” will jump up to the lightweight division and challenge Islam Makhachev for the 155-pound strap in the UFC 284 main event.
That could leave top lightweight contenders like Beneil Dariush stuck in neutral until 2024.
“I don’t know what UFC’s gameplan is for me,” Dariush told UFC.com. “I don’t know if I’m ever going to fight for that belt. I have the option of waiting and fighting the winner, but if Volkanovski wins and decides to defend his featherweight belt, I might end up waiting a whole year and maybe I end up fighting in 2024. I don’t think there is anybody who can jump in front of me right now, but my job is winning fights, so let’s fight Dustin Poirier or Charles Oliveira. March is a good timetable for me.”
Dariush, 33, improved to 22-4-1 by outlasting Mateusz Gamrot at the UFC 280 pay-per-view (PPV) last October. The victory marked his eighth straight and left Dariush sitting at No. 4 in the official lightweight rankings — a spot he could jeopardize by taking a non-title fight.
“I like fighting, I get bored not fighting,” Dariush continued. “I get bored not preparing for an opponent. This is my job and I want to do it. That’s it. It’s not about money or guaranteeing the title shot, it’s that I want to fight the best guys in the world. I think Dustin Poirier or Charles Oliveira are those guys. I really just want to compete with the best in the world, and whatever order I fight these guys is fine with me. I don’t have a ton of time left in my career, so this is my chance.”
As of this writing, both Oliveira and Poirier remain unbooked.