MMA fighting

Beneil Dariush reveals he should serve as backup to Charles Oliveira against Islam Makhachev at UFC 280

In his perfect world, Beneil Dariush would compete for the lightweight title at UFC 280. But he will still weigh in at 155 pounds as a main event backup between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev.

As he prepares for his own fight against Mateusz Gamrot on the same card on October 22, Dariush said he was told to stay ready in case something happens to any of the main event fighters. .

“That’s what [my manager] Ali [Abdelaziz] told me I was the backup for it,” Dariush revealed in an interview with MMA Fighting. “If something goes wrong, they’ll put me in.”

In recent years, the UFC has either booked a match at the same weight class or hired a fighter to serve as a backup to protect high-profile main events from collapsing in the days leading up to the show.

The practice was important during the pandemic when athletes, coaches or teammates tested positive for COVID-19, forcing many last-minute changes to events. Now the UFC is using a just-in-case-of-emergency strategy as a safety valve to avoid the loss of a marquee main event.

As he prepares for Gamrot as part of the undercard, Dariush will have no problem chipping away at the extra pound required for a title fight; he faced a similar situation when competing on the same card as Oliveira, who at UFC 262 faced Michael Chandler for the vacant lightweight title.

“Yes, of course [I’ll make 155 pounds]said Dariush. “It’s not that hard. I’m doing 156. Last time in Texas [at UFC 262]I was about 155 years old when I fought.

“What happened was I stepped on the scale with the UFC scale, it’s a digital scale, it said 155.2 and I was like OK, and I had underwear on I got on the athletic commission one, they use the weights on the scale, and I got on that one and it was like 156.2. I was like what? So I had to go back and lose a bit more weight The whole thing was stupid so I plan to do 155 like last time.

Before an ankle injury forced him to retire from action, Dariush was scheduled to face Makhachev in a title playoff in February. He’s also already been booked to face Oliveira, and it only boosts his confidence if he gets the call to compete in the main event at the last second.

“I’m just preparing,” Dariush said. “I’m preparing for a guy like Mateusz Gamrot and three laps, five laps, it’s really just to pace yourself. For three rounds, I can just go crazy for three rounds. I can go as hard as I want. For five laps, I will accelerate a little more. You can take advantage of your time there if you really want to fight five rounds.

“As far as preparing for Islam or Charles, really the way you do that, you’re as complete as you can be, in terms of hitting, in terms of timing, wrestling, all that stuff, be the best you can be. you can be and don’t worry about the rest. Everything will work itself out. »