Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White gave reigning featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski permission to do “whatever he wants” after racking up a flawless record at 145 pounds, so “The Great” will jump up to the lightweight division and challenge Islam Makhachev for the 155-pound strap in the UFC 284 main event.
That leaves former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira — who is looking to avenge his submission loss to Makhachev at UFC 280 last Oct. in Abu Dhabi — one win away from a potential rematch. Standing in his way is longtime contender Beneil Dariush.
That fight could be headed to a UFC pay-per-view (PPV) card in May.
“UFC was originally like, ‘Hey what do you think about fighting him in Brazil,’ and I was like ‘Can I get a little bit more time?’ Turns out my MCL was torn,” Dariush told The Schmo. “I didn’t know it was that bad, it was before the fight (with Mateusz Gamrot). But it wasn’t like super bad, I just had to wear a knee brace. They said, ‘Okay yeah, we’ll do February.’ February turned into March, March turned into April, now they’re talking about May. I’ve been waiting for awhile, it kinda bugs me because I think I might get passed up again.”
Oliveira is still questioning if Dariush is the right opponent for his UFC comeback.
Dariush, 33, improved to 22-4-1 by outlasting Gamrot at UFC 280, his eighth straight victory and a performance dominant enough to solidify his spot at No. 4 in the official lightweight rankings. Still not good enough for Dustin Poirier, but that’s an entirely different story.
“Even after I beat Charles Oliveira what I think could happen is, since we’re waiting so long, they’ll set up Islam with somebody else, or Volkanovski — whoever wins — with somebody else,” Dariush continued. “They’ll be like, ‘Oh you just fought.’ They’ll announce the fight at the same time or something, I dunno. I get the UFC is not a huge fan of me, I don’t talk a lot of crap, I don’t bring the numbers — or at least that’s what they tell me — so I’m just waiting to see what happens, but I wish I had the fight earlier.”
Hopefully matchmakers can get this lightweight clash booked sooner, rather than later.