UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev has chosen Beneil Dariush as his preferred opponent for his next defense.
After his unanimous decision win against Alexander Volkanovski in his first defense at UFC 284 this past February, Makhachev asked this question: who is next? With fights such as Justin Gaethje vs. Rafael Fiziev and Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush added to the UFC schedule, the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) representative could have an answer in the near future.
However, out of those options, Makhachev would prefer to fight Dariush.
“I hope Beneil wins, because I already beat Oliveira and I need some new challenge,” said Makhachev in a recent interview with BT Sport.
“Dariush is going to be a good fight because this guy has good skills — striking skills, wrestling skills, and grappling skills,” continued Dariush. “That’s why it’s going to be a good fight. Oliveira, if he wants a rematch, if he shows a good performance, maybe he’s going to be next. I don’t know.”
Makhachev and Dariush were previously scheduled to face off at UFC Vegas 49, but an ankle injury forced the latter to withdraw. The former went on to accept a short-notice fight against Bobby Green, dispatching ‘King’ by first-round TKO and earning his first championship opportunity.
Dariush would return to the Octagon at UFC 280, where he earned a unanimous decision against a rising contender in Mateusz Gamrot. With a win over ‘Do Bronx,’ the Kings MMA product would extend his win streak to nine, which he hopes would be enough to secure a fight with Makhachev again.
Oliveira vs. Dariush goes down at UFC 288, the upcoming pay-per-view event set for May 6 at the Prudential Center in Newark.
About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)
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