Islam Makhachev has managed to beat former pound-for-pound number 1 fighter Alexander Volkanovski on UFC 284. Many fans have been wondering who the Dagestani might face next considering the long list of fighters. Now the champion himself has made a choice regarding his next title defense.
In a recent interview, Makhachev discussed the upcoming Dariush vs Oliveira fight, “I hope Beneil (Dariush) beats (Charles) Oliveira. We gonna make some good fight because this guy is tough because he have good skills. And it’s gonna be a huge fight for the fans.”
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) March 5, 2023
He further added, “I prepared for this fight [with Beneil Dariush] a couple years ago. He beat a good opponent in his last fight. That’s why I think if he beats Oliveira, he’s gonna deserve [the fight].”
Beneil picked up a debut win via rear naked choke against Charlie ‘The Spaniard’ Brenneman back in 2014. Unfortunately, he lost his next bout but went on to put together a 5-fight win streak against the likes of Jim Miller and Michael Johnson. At this point, big names like Michael Chiesa and Edson Barboza were selected as opponents to test his capabilities.
Sadly between 2016 and 1018, Dariush won 3 but lost 4 fights. When things were looking rather bleak, the Iranian pulled an impressive armbar win against Thiago Moises and got back into the groove. Big wins against the likes of Drew Dober and Tony Ferguson began to give him a future title challenger status.
One of UFC’s biggest problems is some of its top fighters avoiding the upcoming contenders. Mateusz Gamrot entered the organization with a lot of hype but not all top contenders wanted to fight him. Beneil took the fight against the rising prospect and managed to win the fight with an impressive performance.
Why hasn’t Islam Makhachev already fought Beneil Dariush?
Many consider the win against Gamrot to be a feat worthy enough to be given a shot at the title. However, at that time, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski was looking to become a double champ and he challenged Makhachev. The schedules were all over the place and the Dariush fight didn’t manifest.
Even now the 33-year-old does not need to fight a dangerous opponent like Charles Oliveira but he still took the fight. At this point, even the reigning champion recognizes the eligibility of Beneil for the 155 lb gold. If he does manage to ‘Do Bronx’ he will probably have a good enough following to warrant a massive PPV sellout.
Who do you think wins ins a Makhachev vs Dariush match?