Reigning UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski surprised many this week when he announced on Monday that he will serve as the backup fighter to the UFC 280 lightweight title fight main event. Not only has Volkanovski recently undergone surgery but there is one lightweight fighter, Beneil Dariush, who was told he would serve as the backup fighter to the main event.
Dariush, who is currently scheduled to face Mateusz Gamrot in a high-stakes lightweight fight was previously told that he would serve as the backup fighter to the main event, so when Volkanovski made his announcement, Dariush was caught off guard to say the least. Just one day after the announcement by the featherweight champion, Dariush made an appearance on ‘MMA Today’ on Sirius XM’s Fight Nation channel, and wondered if it is the UFC playing games or Alexander Volkanovski.
"I'm not sure if [Alexander Volkanovski] is playing games or if the UFC is playing games."
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) October 11, 2022
“Honestly, I’m confused. I’m not sure if [Alexander Volkanovski] is playing games or the UFC is playing games cause I was told I’m the fill-in. I mean that’s the whole point of having another lightweight fight on that card, just in case something goes wrong. I don’t understand what’s going on here.”
Despite the confusing and obvious frustrating situation, Beneil Dariush did say he’s staying focused on the task at hand and will not let this take his attention away from his opponent. He would go on to say that he’s looking to get to the bottom of the situation, but his focus remains on Gamrot and adding another win to his current 7-fight winning streak. He would add that it wasn’t in his contract that he’d be the backup but acknowledged that he and Gamrot could headline a fight night card and didn’t need to be on the PPV card unless, it was for backup insurance.
“I’m trying to get to the bottom of it but ultimately I have one goal and that’s [Mateusz] Gamrot. I really thought I was the fill-in, that’s what I was told. It’s not on contract, manager said so, manager said they’re putting me on the card, same date. Because if not, why come all the way to Abu Dhabi? Him and I could headline a card and then we can fight somewhere else, but the reason they brought us here, just in case something goes wrong, I would jump in and fill-in for the main event. So, I’m not sure what that’s all about.”
Although it’s not in his contract that he is the guaranteed backup at UFC 280, Beneil Dariush has quite the reason to be upset with Volkanovski’s claim and shouldn’t be faulted for trying to get an answer from the UFC before the event takes place.
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.
With a special passion for interviewing and talking to the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike’s work across his multiple outlets.
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