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Beneil Dariush will ‘take Justin Gaethje’s advice and possibly riot’ if UFC skips him for next title shot

UFC 280: Dariush v Gamrot Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Beneil Dariush might be the most level-headed contender on the entire UFC roster, but even he has his breaking point.

Despite an eight-fight win streak in the lightweight division, Dariush was told under no uncertain terms that he wasn’t going to get a title shot by just sitting and waiting. That news came on the heels of ex-lightweight champion Charles Oliveira suffering an injury, which delayed the fight with Dariush from UFC 288 in May to UFC 289 in July.

Dariush has been here before, of course, so it was important for him to gain assurances from the UFC about his future before agreeing to the new fight date with Oliveira. That’s also why Dariush is confident that a win on June 10 will finally give him the opportunity to vie for UFC gold — and if it doesn’t, he might finally lose his patience.

“UFC is not the type to often give their word,” Dariush explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “Before I fought Mateusz [Gamrot], I had a feeling they weren’t going to give me the title shot, so I said, ‘Hey, if I beat this guy, I get a title shot right?’ They said, ‘We don’t know,’ basically.

“This time when I was talking to them, they said if I beat Charles Oliveira, I am the No. 1 contender. It’s not often they give me their word. This time they did.”

When Dariush sat down with the UFC for that conversation prior to agreeing to the new against Oliveira, he was informed that Dustin Poirier was currently the top contender in the lightweight division.

Of course, Dariush wouldn’t refute claims that Poirier is one of the best fighters in the world, but that still didn’t explain why the Louisiana native was supposedly ahead of him when it came to a potential title shot.

“To be honest with you, I thought I was the No. 1 contender already, but they didn’t think so,” Dariush said. “That’s basically what it was. My whole thing was, Dustin’s had two title shots, I believe, and he was a former interim champ. He’s had his opportunities at the belt and he’s currently on a one-fight win streak against Michael Chandler. He had a great fight with Michael Chandler, but he’s had his opportunities.

“At this point, I really believe the entertainment part is a much bigger factor than rankings. The rankings can be moved based on your entertainment value. That part sucks, but I also understand it’s a business, and in order for a business to continue, it has to be profitable. That’s what the UFC is doing.”

Poirier’s name getting mentioned may have just been the best way to coax Dariush into accepting the new date with Oliveira, but then, just recently, the stakes of Poirier’s next matchup changed again.

On July 29, Poirier battles Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 291, with the winner being crowned the second-ever “BMF” champion. Even Dariush has nothing but glowing praise for that bit of matchmaking from the UFC, although he can’t help but wonder whether perhaps Poirier or Gaethje could usurp him in the hierarchy of title contention.

“The fight itself, I love the fight. What a fight,” Dariush said. “These guys, they have such a good style, both of them, and the way it clashes, I think it’s going to be fireworks just like the last fight. The fight, I love.

“The consequences of that fight, those might be a little bit more troublesome for me, but overall I love the fight.”

As much as it might ratchet up any potential scrutiny surrounding Dariush’s performance in his next fight against Oliveira, he’s staying calm in the face of chaos.

He believes the UFC will follow through with the promise of a title shot after one more win. But if that doesn’t happen, the 34-year-old veteran might finally have reason to rage.

“I’m going to take them at their word,” Dariush said of the UFC. “If it’s not so, I’m going to take Justin Gaethje’s advice and possibly riot.”

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