After what seems like an eternity, lightweight Beneil Dariush is finally getting a shot at the big time care of a co-main event match-up with Charles Oliveira at UFC 289 next month.
The unquestionably high-level pairing has been in the works for some time, and was supposed to land on UFC 288 just a couple of weeks ago. An injury to Oliveira saw the fight pushed back a month, and Dariush (22-4-1) appears to be chomping at the bit.
“I’m just excited to get it over with at this point. It’s been a long camp, and I’m itching to fight,” the 34-year old told Cageside Press recently.
In a division stacked with contenders including Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier, seemingly never far from a crack at gold, a statement victory could be necessary to secure a title shot. But Dariush believes that has already been worked out with the promotion.
“I’m pretty sure it’s already decided that I’ll be number one contender after this fight. Either way, I’m getting that belt.”
The move to UFC 289 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, actually has an upside for Dariush, who resides and trains in California.
“I think it’s actually easier, because it’s the same time zone,” Darisuh noted. “It’s the same time zone, and the distance is actually closer.”
As for the match-up, Beneil Dariush is expecting nothing short of fireworks. After eight straight victories over the likes of Tony Ferguson and Mateusz Gamrot, among others, he also believes in his ability to shut down ex-champ Oliveira early.
“Should be great, right? Should be fireworks,” Dariush predicted. “But if I’m as good as I think I am, I should be able to shut him down pretty quick.”
Dariush hasn’t lost a fight since 2018; he holds four post-fight bonuses on his current eight-fight win streak. A victory over Oliveira will certainly make it hard to deny him a shot at champion Islam Makhachev.
Watch our full interview with UFC 289 lightweight Beneil Dariush above.