A clearly frustrated Beneil Dariush made sure to secure a little insurance policy in his most recent talks with the UFC.
Dariush had been expected to face Charles Oliveira at UFC 288 in New Jersey next month, a fight many saw as a title eliminator. With Oliveira pulling out of the fight, however, Dariush was left in limbo; word was, the promotion wanted to keep the fight intact.
That now seems to be the case — but if the fight doesn’t go ahead as planned, Dariush believes he’ll be fighting for the lightweight title next.
In an interview with “The Schmo,” Dariush broke down the latest developments in the on-again, off-again fight.
“These are the things we kind of went over. They said they want to push the fight to June 10,” Dariush explained. The June 10 card, UFC 289, takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. “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 10. 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. It was that, and basically a pay bump, too. They agreed to both things, and that was pretty much it.”
Dariush, on an eight-fight win streak in the UFC’s deep lightweight division, is among the few names at the top of the weight class who haven’t already had a shot at gold. Unlike perennial contenders Oliveira, Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler, and even Conor McGregor.
“They agreed to those two things, and if he pulls out, I do get the title shot. That’s what I was told. Now, it’s hard to say no to that, because it seems to me the UFC, on their part, is doing everything to make this fight happen. So I said yeah, let’s do it, let’s do June 10. So I agreed to June 10, and I got some kind of insurance just in case he pulls out.”
The UFC 289 card is headlined by a rubber match between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena, with Nunes once again putting her 135lb title on the line. Oliveira vs. Dariush would add some much-needed firepower to the UFC’s return to Canada.
It seems likely that Oliveira vs. Dariush will serve at the UFC 289 co-main event. “I would assume so, unless there is another title fight on that card,” said Dariush on that front. “I would assume so.”