Beneil Dariush went 735 days without a win. It was a rough two years for the 29-year-old. There’s no other way to put it.
In that stretch, he suffered losses to Edson Barboza and Alexander Hernandez as well as a draw with Evan Dunham. But finally, this past November, Dariush got his hand raised again inside the Octagon. Dariush had a dominating performance and scored a unanimous decision win over Thiago Moises to snap his winless streak. This was a massive relief for him.
“It was huge. I keep telling people, two years without a win, I had a draw, two losses, a lot of injuries it makes you second guess yourself,” Dariush said to BJPENN.com. “Like, hey am I supposed to be here or is this where I am supposed to be. I spent a lot of time thinking about it and this is where God wants me so I will continue to train and get better. A lot of pressure that last fight.”
Now, Dariush is looking to get a winning streak for the first time since 2016. He is set to take on Drew Dober at UFC Wichita. Both are veterans of the UFC looking to get into the rankings. But, for Dariush even though he snapped his losing streak, the pressure to win is still there and that is because he wants it to be here.
“I always say this, as I get older and integrate it into my life, pressure is God-given. Pressure should make you better,” he said. “It’s not supposed to break you. There will be pressure on me this fight but it will be something I put on myself and because of that I will perform better. It is not one of those things where you can’t perform, it is going to be the opposite.”
Although Dariush is set to return on Saturday, he was hoping it would have been quicker than this. The hope was he would ride the momentum of his win and get right back into the cage in January or February.
“I asked Sean Shelby if there was a short-notice for January or February I’ll take it. But, nothing came up. It is what it is,” Dariush explained. “It is kind of weird asking for a short-notice fight because you are hoping someone gets hurt and that way you get the fight. I don’t want anybody to get hurt and miss their paycheck I want everybody to do their thing. If not, I told them I was ready to go.”
Dariush was once ranked, and is looking to get a ranking again and start to climb up the division once more. But, first he must get past Dober. After that he isn’t sure what will be next for him.
“That’s a good question. If there was some sort of algorithm to the way the UFC matches people up or Sean Shelby does it, I could give you a clear answer,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t know, if I get someone ranked I will be grateful, if not I will still be grateful as long as I can just jump back in and fight right away. I would like to do three or four fights this year.”
Fighting often is Dariush’s goal as well as getting a number beside his name. To do that he will first need to get a win over a crafty foe in Dober. Dariush understands Dober poses challenges but he is confident he has what it takes to win.
“I don’t know if I can give you a straight answer for you right now. We’ll see. It’s all about distance, depending on how the distance works, it will all depend on that,” Dariush concluded, giving his outlook on the matchup.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/5/19.