‘Big Step For Me’- Islam Makhachev Says Beneil Dariush Is One of the Toughest Fights for Him in the Lightweight Division

Published 07/18/2021, 2:54 PM EDT
HIDALGO, TX – SEPTEMBER 17: Islam Makhachev of Russia celebrates his victory over Chris Wade in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at State Farm Arena on September 17, 2016 in Hidalgo, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


UFC lightweight sensation Islam Makhachev thwarted another challenge that was put up in front of him at UFC Vegas 31. The Dagestani juggernaut defeated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Thiago Moises via rear-naked choke in Round 4 in the card’s headliner.

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As such, in the post-fight interview, he called out some of the higher-ranked fighters for a fight, including Rafael dos Anjos and Tony Ferguson.

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The Dagestani native also appeared for an interview backstage, where he talked about his win and also what he expects next. One interviewer asked him about fighting a certain Beneil Dariush in the next match.

Makhachev gave his opinion on the Assyrian American and also detailed why it’s tough to have a matchup with him. “Beneil, really like a good fighter. If they give me Beneil, it’s gonna be a good fight,” Makhachev said.

“He is a nice guy, I know him little bit. But he’s number 3. Big step for me to (fight). He’s tough more than these all three guys which one I called, you know,” he added.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 06: Beneil Dariush of Iran reacts after his split-decision victory over Diego Ferreira of Brazil in their lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Although any fight could happen at UFC, this fight doesn’t look like happening, at least soon. Dariush is highly ranked and just like Makhachev, is on an unbeaten streak.

He last fought against Tony Ferguson at UFC 262 and won via unanimous decision. He completely out-wrestled ‘El Cucuy’ and handed him his third straight loss.

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Islam Makhachev wants to finish the unfinished business with Tony Ferguson

One of the greatest matches never to happen in UFC could be the one between Khabib and Ferguson. UFC pitted both the behemoths against each other frequently. But as ill-luck would have it, the fight never materialized.

With ‘The Eagle’ now retired, there could be a chance we could see Ferguson taking on his prodigy, Makhachev. I can benefit both as Makhachev wants a genuine main eventer to fight with, whereas Ferguson wants a win anyhow.

Talking about the same, Makhachev said in the interview, “If they are going to give me a choice, let’s do it with Tony because we have a good history with him.

“Khabib was supposed to fight him five/six times. Let’s finish this. I’m going to finish this. I’m going to show people around the world Tony is not on Khabib’s level.”

Makhachev has certainly put a strong case for himself. It’s only a matter of time before he bags a title-clinching opportunity. What’s your opinion on Makhachev taking on Dariush?

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Akshyay Srichandan Mahapatra

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Akshyay Mahapatra is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He wished to combine his passion for the UFC (that he has been following since 2008) as well as his love for writing. This motivated him to enter the world of combat sports journalism.

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