Beneil Dariush has been reassured by UFC brass that a win over Charles Oliveira at UFC 289 will make him the No. 1 contender next in line to fight Islam Makhachev. And while UFC president Dana White agrees that makes a lot of sense, he stopped short of making any promises ahead of the Vancouver pay-per-view.
Dariush is on an impressive eight fight win streak, and will be taking on the current No. 1 ranked lightweight and former 155 pound champ. It seems like a clear cut fight for dibs on fighting Islam Makhachev in Abu Dhabi this October, but White is being very non-committal about the situation.
“I have no idea,” White said at the UFC 289 pre-fight press conference when asked about the title implications of his co-main event. “We’ll see how the fight goes on Saturday. But yeah, it obviously makes a lot of sense. Right here, right now, makes a lot of sense. We’ll see what happens.”
Unfortunately for Dariush and Oliveira, there’s a BMF belt fight between Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier going down at UFC 291 on July 29th. Not only are Poirier and Gaethje two of the most exciting fighters in the organization, they’re huge fan favorites as well. The winner of that fight could definitely snatch the next championship fight.
Especially if Dariush vs. Oliveira fails to deliver fireworks.
It’s the simple truth of UFC title fights: it’s not all about who deserves it the most. Marketable fighters don’t have to go through the same gauntlet as a Beneil Dariush might. Abu Dhabi is an important location for UFC execs, and they do their best to book big fights for their Fight Island benefactors. Islam Makhachev was effectively shelved after his last bout to ensure he’d be healthy for the October event.
Dariush didn’t seem too bothered about White’s less-than-reassuring words.
“No, I’m not concerned at all,” he said . “I’m confident in my skill set. I’m confident in what god has given me. I recognize how good Charles is. It’s not something I see in him that’s a flaw. I just believe in myself and what God has given me.”
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