Beneil Dariush is frustrated by Charles Oliveira and his pursuit of a fight against Conor McGregor.
Having fought his way to contention with seven consecutive wins in three years, Dariush finds himself near the top of the lightweight division and wants to further his ascension by fighting — and defeating — his fellow contenders. Among those contenders is Oliveira, who went from UFC lightweight champion to No. 1 contender after being stripped for missing weight ahead of his defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 earlier this month.
There is no word yet on who Oliveira expects to fight in a No. 1 contender, but he has expressed interest in McGregor. ‘Do Bronx’ previously explained during a post-fight press conference that it would be ‘a great payday’ and ‘good’ for his legacy. That is all good and well, but Dariush would prefer if he continued to build his legacy around fighting contenders instead. During an appearance on The Fighter vs. The Writer with Damon Martin of MMA Fighting, the 33-year-old ripped the Brazilian for pursuing the ‘Notorious’ one.
“What actually is really bothering me is Charles Oliveira,” said Dariush. “He’s talking about wanting to fight Conor, and he talks about how these guys never gave him a shot when he was outside the top five, blah, blah, blah. We were supposed to fight October of 2020. I have a fight contract, I can post a picture of it. I was supposed to fight Charles, and he pulled out of the fight and then a couple of months later, instead of fighting with me, he fought Tony Ferguson. He said something about family issues and I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, he had to fight me. I can’t believe he didn’t do that.’ Family comes first, I understand that. But the same thing people did to him, now he’s doing to me.
“He was supposed to fight me, bailed, went and fought Tony Ferguson,” continued Dariush. “And now instead of fighting actual contenders, he wants to go fight Conor? He wants to go fight Nate Diaz? This is hypocritical, man. This is the only thing that’s bothering me.”
McGregor has not fought since suffering a broken leg in his fight against Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 this past July. Since undergoing surgery to fix a broken tibia and fibula, the former two-division champion has been recovering and teasing a return.
Despite his declaration that he would be ‘billi walking straight to a title shot on my return,’ McGregor is 1-3 in his past four fights. There is also no indication that he would receive that title shot, so Dariush still struggles to understand why Oliveira is adamant about fighting him. If given a choice, Dariush said Oliveira should consider either him or Islam Makhachev next.
“I understand the media has their thing,” said Dariush. “I understand the UFC has their part, but for him to be chasing a unicorn? It’s just super frustrating. There’s two clear contenders in front of you and you’re trying to chase a unicorn. And no one knows when Conor is going to fight again. The guy might not even fight this year. He might just be like, ‘Oh, the leg is taking too long. I’ll fight next year.’ Whatever. What is going on here? Make it make sense. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Dariush was in action at UFC 262, where he defeated Tony Ferguson via unanimous decision. The Kings MMA product was scheduled to fight the aforementioned Makhachev, but was forced to withdraw after suffering an injury in training.
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