Just In With first losing streak behind him, UFC’s Beneil Dariush talks benefit of quick turnarounds MMA Life

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WICHITA, Kan. – When he meets Drew Dober this Saturday, at UFC on ESPN+ 4, Beneil Dariush will return to the cage a little less than four months after a UFC Fight Night 139 win over Thiago Moises.

That’s a relatively quick turnaround, especially considering the holidays and the fact Dariush also teaches. But Dariush, who maintained some type of activity even on vacations, actually wanted to return earlier. In fact, while he wasn’t rooting for any of his peers to get injured, he let the UFC brass know he’d be willing to take a spot in a January or February card if it opened up.

The willingness and the ability to take fights on short notice is something that can help move some careers along. But it is also a risk – and one that many fighters, especially more experienced fighters, sometimes are less than inclined to take.

After fighting seven times in the year-and-a-half period that kicked off his UFC career, Dariush has his reasons to appreciate increased cage activity.

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“It was really hard on the body; it was hard on my mind,” Dariush told MMA Junkie ahead of the lightweight bout, which streams on ESPN+ from INTRUST Bank Arena. “But, when it comes to sharpening your weapons, I don’t know if there’s anything better than that. I can agree with everybody when they say, ‘I want a full camp.’ I understand. But if the goal is to keep sharpening your tools, there’s nothing better than fighting.

“There’s nothing better than stepping out into that octagon and going through the nerves, going through the stress, the weight of the world on your shoulders. And stepping in there, and then performing. If you can’t do that, at that moment, all the other work doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you had a full camp, it doesn’t matter if you had the best camp of your life, it doesn’t matter if you had a year to train for a fight.”

Dariush won six of those first seven UFC bouts between 2014 and 2015. He was on a five-fight winning streak when he was submitted by Michael Chiesa in April 2016 and would go on a two-fight streak, with wins over James Vick and Rashid Magomedov, before Edson Barboza – and his flying knee – came along.

Dariush then went on first losing streak after that, thanks to a big upset by octagon newcomer Alexander Hernandez.

That’s still not even close to a bad octagon resume, especially considering the caliber of competition Dariush has faced. But that didn’t take the weight off the lightweight’s shoulders as he entered the ultimately victorious meeting with Moises off a skid.

Coming off a win into the meeting with Dober (20-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC), Dariush (15-4-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC) said, changed even the way he interacted with people and how pleasant he was. And who can really blame him, considering the amount of pressure built into this sport.

It is often said that, in MMA, you are only as good as your last fight. And if that seems like a tough way to build a career, it’s because it is.

“It’s a difficult thing – you can have 99 days where you’re just absolutely perfect and that one night, you fall short,” Dariush said.

Is it unfair, though?

“I don’t know. Is there any other way?” Dariush said. “I don’t want to fight a guy seven times just to decide who’s the best guy. I know some other sports do that. Imagine fighting the same guy seven times in a row, I’m probably going to be friends before I finish the whole thing with him. We’re going to get a lot closer. Fighting is very intimate.

“I know some guys I’ve fought, and we have a better relationship after we fought. I don’t know if I want to do that. Is it fair? No. Would I want to do it differently? I don’t think so.”

To hear more from Dariush, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC on ESPN+ 4, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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