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Beneil Dariush on UFC future: ‘I’d like to fight somebody ahead of me instead of all the guys behind me’

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Few athletes in the UFC have amassed a more impressive win streak than Beneil Dariush over his past six fights.

Beyond the 6-0 record, the 31-year-old veteran has finished four of those opponents by knockout or submission while winning three Performance of the Night awards as well as a Fight of the Night bonus for his recent victory against Diego Ferreira.

While he now occupies a spot inside the top 10 rankings at 155 pounds, Dariush has still been struggling to get any of the fighters ahead of him to accept an open challenge to face him as he attempts to climb closer to title contention.

“It seems to me it’s more about the politics,” Dariush explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “You want to take high risk with high reward. You don’t want to take high risk with low reward, but bro, we need some new blood in this division.

“I’m tired of seeing the same guys fight each other. I’m telling you, the lightweight division is so talented, we have so many high level guys out there who are not even in the top-15 who can be champion. So give us a chance.”

Prior to his win over Ferreira in February, Dariush was originally expected to get his wish for a top-five ranked opponent after he was matched up against Charles Oliveira.

The Brazilian was riding a seven-fight win streak of his own at the time and Dariush was excited to put on a show against somebody of Oliveira’s caliber. That was until Dariush got a message from the UFC that Oliveira was no longer able to accept the fight, though he’s still not exactly sure the reason for it.

“The thing is he wasn’t injured,” Dariush said. “That’s not what I was told. They told me he had some personal issues or it was family issues, it was one of those. I said OK, I understand. I’ll wait for when he’s ready, he’s high-ranked.

“So while I was waiting, I kept seeing on social media he was calling out Tony Ferguson, and then he got the Tony fight. That was the frustrating part. There’s nothing Sean Shelby can do about that. Sean can only offer people. I literally got the contract for Charles and I signed it. I got the contract, I signed it, I did everything I was supposed to do. Sean did everything he was supposed to do.”

Despite a growing resume filled with impressive finishes, Dariush has never turned down an opportunity when the UFC comes calling with an opponent.

While Ferreira did have a better ranking, Dariush had already beaten him years earlier, so even that fight didn’t make as much sense on paper. But he still didn’t hesitate when the promotion offered him that rematch. He only wishes more fighters in the lightweight division had that same attitude.

“That’s the crazy thing,” Dariush said. “After I beat Frank Camacho, I got ranked. I believe I was ranked No. 15 or 14. So I thought I was going to fight somebody above me, but I didn’t. I kept fighting people behind me. I fought Drakkar [Klose] and I fought Scott Holtzman. I’m already ranked, and I’m fighting guys who are not ranked.

“I had no problem putting myself in that situation. I said OK, let’s fight. My job is fighting so I’ll take the fight. But I’m not seeing that from anybody else.”

Following his latest win, Dariush is still waiting on the right opportunity as he awaits the chance to compete again with hopes of building his win streak to seven. But more than anything, he wants to finally put himself into a position where a title fight is within his grasp.

“It’s very frustrating but I also know nobody deserves anything,” Dariush said. “I don’t deserve to make Charles fight me. Nobody deserves anything. What we get, everything is a blessing. I’m not angry at him. I was frustrated with the situation, but good for him. God bless you, you got the fight you wanted, go do your thing.

“All I’m asking for is a chance. I’d like to fight Charles. I’d like to fight [Michael] Chandler. I’d like to fight Tony Ferguson. I’d like to fight somebody ahead of me instead of all the guys behind me.”