Streaking UFC lightweight contender, Beneil Dariush maintains he is unwilling to potentially share the Octagon with former interim gold holder, Justin Gaethje in the future, citing their friendship as the driving force behind his decision to shy away from a potential matchup.
Iranian-born grappling standout, Dariush — who currently sits behind Gaethje in the official lightweight pile at #3, is in the midst of an impressive seven-fight winning spree, possibly on the cusp of his first title challenge under the promotion’s banner.
The Kings MMA staple is slated to return to the Octagon on February 26., Dariush meets with his fellow grappling standout, the surging, #4 ranked contender, Islam Makhachev — with the victor expected to seal their premier lightweight title challenge with a victory.
However, with defending champion, Charles Oliveira already booked to meet with former interim champion, the #1 ranked, Dustin Poirier next weekend in the main event of UFC 269, the victor of the February main event will have to wait until the aforenoted, Gaethje gets his title challenge first.
UFC president, Dana White recently confirmed that former interim titleholder, Gaethje has reinserted himself into title contention at lightweight off the back of a unanimous decision victory over Michael Chandler at UFC 268 last month in a Fight of the Year contender.
As a result, Dariush and Makhachev must lay in wait for their first title challenge post-February, and according to Dariush, he would rather not compete against Gaethje in the future if at all possible.
“I don’t want to fight a friend,” Dariush said of Gaethje during a recent interview with ESPN MMA. “I do consider Justin (Gaethje) a friend. He’s an amazing guy.“
Currently riding a seven-fight winning spree, Dariush, who most recent defeated former interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson at UFC 262 in May — was called out by the Oxnard native for assisting Gaethje in his preparation for his May 2020.
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