Ali Abdelaziz has suggested that Beneil Dariush could serve as the backup/replacement fighter for the upcoming Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev matchup. Oliveira will face Makhachev for the vacant UFC lightweight title in the headlining fight at UFC 280 on October 22.
Elsewhere on the UFC 280 card, Dariush is set to face Mateusz Gamrot. Intriguingly, the UFC featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, has recently expressed interest in pursuing double-champ status and capturing the UFC lightweight title.
Volkanovski is reportedly willing to be the backup fighter for the Oliveira-Makhachev matchup at UFC 280. While responding to a tweet from MMA Junkie, Ali Abdelaziz offered his client Beneil Dariush’s services instead. The MMA manager indicated that if Oliveira pulls out of the Makhachev fight, Dariush could step in and face Makhachev for the title. Abdelaziz tweeted:
“If Charles pulls out, @beneildariush will be there to be the back up”
Makhachev and Dariush are both managed by Abdelaziz. Nevertheless, both top-tier lightweights have previously been booked to fight one another. The Dariush-Makhachev matchup was expected to headline a UFC Fight Night event in February.
However, the fight fell apart after Dariush withdrew due to an ankle injury. Presently, Makhachev is on a collision course with Oliveira, whereas Dariush looks to stop surging contender Gamrot.
When Beneil Dariush promised a war against Islam Makhachev
Beneil Dariush currently holds the No.6 spot in the official UFC lightweight rankings, while Islam Makhachev stands at No.4. Dariush is on a seven-fight win streak and is regarded by many as the dark horse of the lightweight division. That said, he’s been the recipient of significant criticism from certain sections of the MMA community as of late.
In his most recent fight, Dariush outworked the legendary Tony Ferguson and secured a unanimous decision victory in May 2021. Despite Dariush putting on a dominant performance against Ferguson, his detractors criticized him for playing it safe and not hunting for the finish.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Beneil Dariush subsequently fired back at his critics. At the time of the interview, he was booked to face Islam Makhachev in February. Addressing that matchup and his last performance, Dariush promised a war against Makhachev. Dariush said:
“The Tony fight, we followed the game plan 100%. Now everybody keeps talking like this, I’m like, ‘You know what? Maybe I’ll just toss it all in the air and just let’s see who can dig deeper. Let’s see who’s willing to just go further.’ If it comes out impressive, great. If not, it’s going to be a war either way.”
Watch Dariush’s interview in the video below: