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Dana White waffles on Beneil Dariush vs. Charles Oliveira winner getting title shot; Dariush responds

Dana White isn’t ready to set anything in stone when it comes to future title challengers, even with a likely No. 1 contender fight set as the UFC 289 co-main event.

Prior to the pre-fight press conference on Thursday, both Beneil Dariush and Charles Oliveira stated that a win on Saturday should lead to a future showdown with reigning UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. For his part, White was hesitant to make any declarations, though he admitted that either Dariush or Oliveira would be the most likely candidate for that opportunity.

“I have no idea,” White responded when asked about the stakes in the UFC 289 co-main event. “We’ll see how the fight goes on Saturday but yeah, it obviously makes a lot of sense.

“Right here, right now, makes a lot of sense. We’ll see what happens.”

Before he arrived in Vancouver for the fight on Saturday, Dariush told MMA Fighting that UFC execs gave him their word he would get the next title shot if able to dispatch Oliveira, which would serve as his ninth win in a row.

Even after Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje 2 was booked for the main event at UFC 291, potentially interfering with his future plans, Dariush stuck by the promise the promotion made when he signed his bout agreement for the Oliveira fight.

“It’s not often they give me their word,” Dariush told MMA Fighting. “This time they did. I’m going to take them at their word. If it’s not so, I’m going to take Justin Gaethje’s advice and possibly riot.”

After hearing White’s response to the title shot question, Dariush didn’t get heated or upset that perhaps the promotion was potentially backing out of the promise made to him.

“No, I’m not concerned at all,” Dariush said.

Rather than allowing himself to get consumed about potential title shots, Dariush opted to heap praise on Oliveira as an opponent while still predicting a victory on Saturday.

“I’m confident in my skill set,” Dariush said. “I’m confident in what god has given me. I recognize how good Charles is. It’s not something I see in him that’s a flaw. I just believe in myself and what god has given me.

“I’ve said this before, in my opinion, Charles, the second best lightweight of all time right behind Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. But it doesn’t matter for me. I want to fight the best guys in the world.”

If Dariush felt slighted by White’s non-committal to his title shot, he wasn’t alone. The UFC president had the same thought when asked about the women’s bantamweight division with Amanda Nunes set to face Irene Aldana in the UFC 289 main event.

Nunes was originally expected to clash with former champion Julianna Pena in a trilogy before she suffered an injury, which resulted in Aldana taking the fight instead. Meanwhile, Raquel Pennington flew to Vancouver to serve as a backup to the main event, which also puts her in an advantageous position for the future.

It remains to be seen if the next title shot will go to Pena, Pennington or somebody else –White wasn’t interested in speculating.

“I have no idea,” White shrugged. “We’ll see how it all plays out.”

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