After UFC Denver, Beneil Dariush reveals the dark thoughts that dogged him during a two year slump.
Denver, CO — It’s been a long time since Beneil Dariush was in the winner’s circle in the UFC. Two years, through which he was forced to deal with defeat and injury. Which led to some dark thoughts during a difficult time. Dariush’s last win, prior to Saturday night at UFC Denver, was November of 2016, at the TUF Latin America 3 Finale. Since then, a pair of losses, a draw, and a lot of frustration.
Following his win on Saturday, Dariush was in much better spirits. But he recalled the dark thoughts that haunted him during his slump. “The worst things, man. You think the worst things,” he told reporters, including Cageside Press. “You think about, what about the next fight? If I lose the next fight, am I going to retire? Am I done with the UFC, is the UFC going to kick me out?”
“The worst things come into your mind, and you think the worst thing is going to happen,” he admitted. “You don’t think the best thing is going to happen.”
Dariush turned to scripture during those rough times, saying it “just rebuilds me, it brings me back to life.” He also made some changes heading into his UFC Denver fight against Thiago Moisés.
“I did make changes, I’ll be honest with you,” Dariush said. “I opened up a gym, about two, three years ago. Before I opened up the gym, I was 6-1. I had a really big run.” Perhaps it was too much of a distraction. “After I opened up the gym, I was 2-3-1. I was teaching almost full time, and I really loved the gym, don’t get me wrong, it’s a passion for me. But I realized I can’t do both.”
“So for this fight,” he continued, “I actually put the gym completely aside. I didn’t teach much classes, I think maybe once every two weeks, once every week, and that really made a difference.” The other big change was sequestering himself in the mountains ahead of the bout. “Coming out here three weeks out, complete isolation from everybody. From everything.” he told reporters. “I stayed in the mountains. I love my family, I miss my nieces I think the most, I miss my mother, I miss my sister, my friends, but that gave me drive of focus. I was hungry. I think that made the difference in this fight.”
Opponent Thiago Moisés took the fight on just five weeks notice, and after the bout, Dariush asked him when he had made the trip to Colorado. A week prior was the answer. “The thing is, five weeks is enough to get in good shape, but if you don’t come into altitude three of those weeks, you’re going to struggle,” Dariush explained. “I felt he was really strong in the first round, he threw me with the whizzer a couple of times here and there, but that kind of worked into my game. Because the more he’s exploding while I’m hanging on, I’m not really using much energy, and he’s using all that explosion, which kind of went into the second round, and I started being able to move him a lot easier, get the takedowns.” That led to Dariush nearly securing a choke.
As for fighting on the show that marked 25 years of UFC action, “That was cool, man,” he admitted. Though he had doubts initially and was concerned about the costs, “25 years, and I got to be on the anniversary. Super grateful to Sean Shelby.”
Watch the full UFC Denver post-fight media scrum with Beneil Dariush above!