His ocular issues finally behind him, Daron Cruickshank has agreed to meet fellow lightweight up-and-comer Beneil Dariush in a classic striker vs. grappler match on March 14 at UFC 185. The UFC announced the bout on Thursday.
A veteran of The Ultimate Fighter 15, Cruickshank (16-5, 1 NC) fought to an unfortunate end in his most recent outing, walking away with a no contest after a nasty inadvertent eyepoke from opponent K.J. Noons rendered Cruickshank unable to continue early in the second round at December's TUF 20 Finale.
The damage ended up being worse than initially expected, as Cruickshank suffered a rarely seen torn tear duct in his left eye that required immediate surgery to repair. The operation was a success, but it nonetheless left the 29-year-old no longer able to tear up from his left eye. Cruickshank later told MMAFighting.com that his doctor only had previously seen the injury in "car accidents and dog attacks."
A flashy fighter known for his highlight-reel kicks, Cruickshank will now put his 6-3 UFC record on the line against Dariush (9-1), a decorated black belt fighting out of Kings MMA who has garnered a reputation for his slick submission work.
The 25-year-old Dariush is a winner of three of his four UFC contests, highlighted by submission finishes of Charlie Brenneman and Tony Martin. He last captured a lethargic unanimous decision over Carlos Diego Ferreira in his pay-per-view debut this past October.
UFC 185 takes place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. An updated fight card can be seen below.
- Anthony Pettis vs. Rafael dos Anjos
- Carla Esparza vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
- Matt Brown vs. Johny Hendricks
- Alistair Overeem vs. Roy Nelson
- Chris Cariaso vs. Henry Cejudo
- Ross Pearson vs. Sam Stout
- Daron Cruickshank vs. Beneil Dariush
- Sergio Pettis vs. Ryan Benoit
- Roger Narvaez vs. Elias Theodorou