UFC 288 took quite the hit this week when it was announced that Charles Oliveira was pulling out of his highly anticipated No. 1 contender match against Beneil Dariush. It left the card looking pretty weak, and it left Lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev, without a potential opponent for his eventual October title defense in Abu Dhabi.
Now, we have word from Beneil Dariush that UFC is looking to move the Oliveira bout back one month to UFC 289 in Vancouver, Canada. That card is being headlined by a third women’s Bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena. In a new interview with The Schmo, Dariush laid out how the potential re-booking of his fight with “Do Bronx” went.
“This feels like the third or fourth time [it’s been canceled], third I think, third time,” he said. “I’m just frustrated at this point and was looking forward to fighting May 6th. But, it looks like the UFC wants to push it back.
“They said they want to push the fight to June 10th,” he continued. “By the way, I still don’t have a contract, so I’m not sure if it’s for sure, but that’s what they told me they want to do, June 10th. At first I wasn’t about it because what if this guy pulls out? But then I said a couple of things: if this guy pulls out again, I want the title shot. And basically [I asked for] a pay bump, too. And they agreed to both things, and that was pretty much it.
“They agreed to both things, so if he pulls out I get the title shot — that’s what I was told,” Dariush continued. “It’s hard to say no to that because the UFC, it seems on their part they’re doing everything to make this fight happen. So, I said, ‘yeah let’s do it, let’s do June 10th.’ I agreed to June 10th and I got some kind of insurance just in case he pulls out.”
Obviously, we’ll have to wait for Oliveira to confirm he’s healthy to fight in a month and for contracts to be signed. But, we’re optimistic that Dariush vs. Oliveira gets rebooked.
As for the title shot promises? This wouldn’t be the first time Dariush has been told one thing by UFC brass only for something else to go down. Most recently, he was supposed to serve as the backup for Makhachev vs. Oliveira, only to have Alexander Volkanovski usurp his position.
Hopefully, Dariush doesn’t get passed over again, but the promotion certainly doesn’t seem eager to push him into a championship bout.