Beneil Dariush was looking to be fighting a ranked opponent but unfortunately did not get his wish.
Dariush, who is currently ranked 14th at lightweight, is riding a four-fight winning streak and coming off a spectacular KO win over Drakkar Klose at UFC 248. It was a phenomenal finish. Looking back at it, the timing of that fight couldn’t have been any more perfect.
It was the last event with the fans and the promotion only did one more event before shutting down for nearly two months.
“It couldn’t have been a bigger blessing,” Dariush said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “If the pandemic hits, I have to shut down my gym and training was getting difficult. Imagine I had to fight in May or June it would’ve been very difficult.”
Now, when Dariush returns to the Octagon on Saturday night at UFC Vegas 6, he will be fighting unranked Scott Holtzman. For Dariush, it is disappointing to still not be competing against ranked opponents.
“Extremely disappointed. No disrespect to Scott, I know how tough he is and how hard-working he is and how long he has been doing this,” he explained. “I had to sit there with Sean Shelby and asked about a bunch of names and everyone was booked, injured, or not interested. It was very frustrating. It put a bad taste in my mouth. I appreciate the guys outside of the top-15 that want to fight me.”
Beneil Dariush, who renegotiated his contract with the UFC before this fight, understands why ranked opponents don’t want to fight him.
So, for him, he believes he just needs to keep on winning, and eventually, the UFC will get him a ranked opponent.
“When I was young I used to think people are scared to fight. These men risk their lives every time they fight. As I get older I understand it is more a risk-reward kind of thing,” he explained. “If you are going to put your life on the line the risk to reward should match. They don’t look me at as a big enough reward to fight.”
Ultimately, even though Dariush is disappointed in the name, he knows Scott Holtzman is dangerous so he has to be prepared. He expects to have an advantage on the ground but knows Holtzman is though so can’t bank on getting a finish.
“I have a big advantage on the ground. But, from what I’ve seen I also have an advantage in the striking. I’m not in a hurry to do either, my game plan is to be comfortable out there. He has never been finished and has fought good grapplers,” Dariush explained. “I’m not thinking I can take him down and submit him right away. I would be foolish if I think that. It may be similar to the fight with Drakkar Klose and it might turn into a brawl. I have to be ready for it all.”
In the end, Beneil Dariush hopes a win, and possibly a finish finally earns him a ranked opponent next time out. He also believes with many lightweights not fighting, a win could shoot him up into the top-10 of the division.
“It is strange because of the inactivity I may shoot up a bit. If I get a good performance, maybe I go to 11 or something like that. That allows me to challenge guys in the 6-9 range. Hopefully, I can pull something off like that,” Dariush concluded. “I don’t want to have this fight and have to just sit out and do nothing. The idea of fighting higher-ranked opponents was available. But, I would have to wait until the end of the year or next year and that just wasn’t an option for me. Hopefully, something is going to be available to me.”
Do you think Beneil Dariush will beat Scott Holtzman?