Initially scheduled to lock horns at UFC Fight Island 4 in October, surging grapplers, Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush ultimately failed to stand opposite each other at the ‘Fight Island’ event, however, the latter isn’t closing the chapter on a future matchup with the Brazilian.
Expected to make his second Octagon appearance of the year at the Abu Dhabi, UAE event, Sao Paulo submission standout, Oliveira was forced to withdraw from the matchup, citing personal reasons — before returning in the co-main event of UFC 256 in December to grab a career-highlight unanimous decision win over former interim champion, Tony Ferguson.
Sitting at #3 in the official rankings as he continually campaigns for an ever-elusive title shot which seems unlikely at this time, Oliveira had been offered a co-main event clash against recent debutante, Michael Chandler at UFC 258 last weekend, in a non-title bout. Rejecting the proposal, Oliveira and co insisted he needed to fight for a lightweight title in his next outing instead.
Featuring the week prior at UFC Vegas 18 in a rematch against Oliveira’s compatriot, Diego Ferreira, Kings MMA mainstay, Dariush scored a second career triumph over the Fortis MMA grappler — improving his winning streak to six straight successes — nabbing a split decision victory.
Voicing his need for a high-ranked opponent in his next appearance under the UFC banner, the newly minted #9 ranked contender claimed if paired with the eight-fight streaking, Oliveira again, he’d walk the dynamic Brazilian down and turn the contest into a dog-fight.
“Listen, the guy (Charles Oliveira) comes out and throws a bunch of flying knees, a bunch of kicks, a bunch of weird stuff, and you know what I’m going to do?” Dariush said during a recent interview with ESPN MMA. “I’m going to walk through all of it. I don’t know how, but I’m going to walk through all of it.“
“I’m going to grab him, he’s going to think he’s going to take me down,” Dariush explained. “He’s not, I’m going to take him down. He’s going to try submissions, they’re not going to work and it’s just going to be a dog fight until one dog gives up and I’m pretty sure that’s not going to be me.“
Oliveira’s continuous calls for a title shot off the back of last year’s victories over Kevin Lee and the above-mentioned, Ferguson, has given Dariush the impression that the upper-echelon of the division are turning into “businessmen“
“Bro, I thought we were fighters,” Dariush said. “Why is everybody so civilized all of a sudden and why is everybody like, low-risk high-reward. I feel like I’m working with businessmen. When I was ranked number-seven — they offered me (Michael) Chiesa who wasn’t ranked, and I said, ‘sure’. I lost the fight, which sucks, but I lost.“
“Then right after the fight, I fought James Vick,” Dariush said. “I took it on short-notice just because I didn’t feel good about myself, I jumped back in. At the time he had never been knocked out, he was 5-0 in the UFC. I was still ranked, I was ranked top-ten, I took the fight with him not ranked, still went out there.“
Adding Ferreira to his winning-run, Dariush, a three-time no-gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion, scored prior victories over Scott Holtzman, Drakkar Klose, Frank Camacho, Drew Dober, and Thiago Moises.