Beneil Dariush indicates he will serve as backup to UFC 280 lightweight title fight main event
Although he’s already scheduled for a fight against Mateusz Gamrot at UFC 280 in a high-stakes lightweight contest, surging contender Beneil Dariush also revealed he has a second task for the event. With the main event scheduled to be a lightweight title fight between former champion Charles Oliveira and fourth-ranked contender Islam Makhachev for the vacant title, Dariush recently revealed he is set to serve as the backup to the main event, and will replace either fighter if they can not make weight or get injured before the fight.
In an interview with Damon Martin of MMA Fighting, Beneil Dariush explained that his manager Ali Abdelaziz told him he was the backup and with the lightweight belt being vacant heading into the event, it only makes sense for the UFC to have a plan in place if anything were to happen.
“That’s what Ali [Abdelaziz] told me, I was the backup for this. If something goes wrong, they would put me in.” (MMA Fighting)
The lightweight title became vacant back at UFC 274 when reigning champion Charles Oliveira missed weight when he weighed-in at 155.5 pounds which was .5 pound over the limit for a world title fight. Because he was stripped of his title before the fight against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274, only Gaethje was eligible to win the title, but Oliveira would go on to win the fight with a first-round submission over the former interim lightweight champion.
Currently sitting at sixth in the division rankings, Beneil Dariush is currently on a seven-fight winning streak with his last win coming over former interim champion, Tony Ferguson. As he is set to serve as the backup, Dariush will also be expected to weigh-in at the championship weight limit of 155 pounds.
With his current fight set to take place with just three rounds, Dariush would tell MMA Fighting that he is still focusing on preparing for Mateusz Gamrot and their three-round fight, but preparing for a five-round fight will be all about pacing.
“I prepare for a guy like Mateusz Gamrot and three rounds, five rounds, it’s really just pacing yourself. For three rounds I just get to go nuts for three rounds. I can go as hard as I want. For five rounds, I will pace a little bit more. You get to enjoy your time in there if you really want to fight five rounds.”
Given the fact that both Oliveira and Makhachev have had issues in the past and have pulled from fights for various reasons, it’s a smart move by the UFC to have a built-in insurance policy in Beneil Dariush in what should be a very entertaining UFC 280 event.
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
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