Ahead of his lightweight battle with Beneil Dariush at UFC Vegas 6 this weekend, Scott Holtzman is wondering if his opponent is overlooking him a little. Dariush has been vocal about wanting someone in the top ten, and while “Hot Sauce” has won five of his last six, Holtzman (14-3) isn’t that.
“He said that publicly, he said that everywhere. He’s campaigning for a top 10 opponent on social media, all that,” Holtzman told Cageside Press at Thursday’s UFC Vegas 6 media day. “I think we’ve seen it time and time again, you underestimate a guy, you go in there and look past him, next thing you know, you get beat.”
That would be a mistake on Dariush’s part, Holtzman indicated. “He’s got to face me man-to-man in there. He’s got to get in there and pay the piper. So I’m not worried about that one bit. It’s a fight, I’m confident in myself.”
As for those rankings, Holtzman noted that Dariush really isn’t that much higher up the food chain than himself. “He’s already been up in the rankings. He fell out, now he’s trying to climb back in. But I haven’t seen him beat any ranked opponents lately either.”
All that said, there’s no bad feelings on Holtzman’s part when it comes to Beneil Dariush. “It’s business as usual. I always train hard, I always do all the right things. I’m a true professional. I train for each guy just as hard. It’s a big opportunity, but I’m prepared for it, I’m ready.”
He summed it all up by saying that “[Dariush has] been in there, he’s fallen back down. I’m on the way up. I’m trending upward. It’s my time.”
For all the talk of rankings, they really are secondary to Scott Holtzman. He’s more of a “BMF” fighter, if you will.
“I’m looking for exciting fights. I want fights that the fans like. Winning a bonus now and then is nice too.” The exciting fights, however, seem to be up in the top 15 these days. “So if that’s what I got to do to chase those good fights, I’ve got to fight those top 15 guys, than so be it. And if I end up being ranked, then fine too. But you don’t get paid any extra to fight a guy with a number next to his name.”
Getting a ranked opponent is a bit of boost in a different way, he later admitted. “It feels good to finally have some validation, and also to be buzzing through these contracts and make a little more money.”
UFC Vegas 6 takes place Saturday, August 8, airing live on ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).