Anaheim, CA — Lightweight Beneil Dariush has the biggest fight of his career ahead of him, in roughly two week’s time.
As much as the next fight is always the biggest, this one very much is for both Dariush (21-4-1) and UFC Fight Night 202 opponent Islam Makhachev. The winner is due for a big boost in the lightweight division; Dariush went so far as referring to the fight as a title eliminator, speaking to media outlets backstage at UFC 270 in Anaheim over the weekend.
Makhachev has been looked upon by many as the heir apparent to Khabib Nurmagomedov at 155lbs. Dariush himself had plenty of praise for the Dagestani fighter. “He’s as complete as you get. He can wrestle, he can do jiu-jitsu, and then he can strike. And in all those things, he’s quite capable. So, great fighter.”
What Makhachev’s past opponents have failed to do is pressure him, Dariush observed. “I haven’t seen anyone really pressure him— and it could be because they couldn’t. They weren’t well-rounded enough,” he stated. “Because you try to pressure him standing, he takes you down. If you try to apply some jiu-jitsu, his wrestling’s so good, he doesn’t allow you. From what I’ve seen they haven’t been able to put pressure on him because they don’t have enough skill, the well-roundedness required to do that. And I think I’m the guy to do that.”
Not only is he the guy to do that, Beneil Dariush believes he can do it where ever the fight goes. “I don’t care where the fight goes, I could do whatever I want.”
That said, the 32-year old, who recently became a dad, doesn’t believe Islam Makhachev to be overrated. “I think he’s fairly rated, yeah. I just don’t think he’s ever fought me,” Dariush said. “That’s the difference.”