Beneil Dariush Unwilling To Fight Justin Gaethje In The Future: ‘I Don’t Want To Fight A Friend’

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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Ross Markey

An MMA fan since 2011 and covering the sport since 2016, Ross Markey has built himself into a top journalist in combat sports.

First catching on to MMA and the UFC in particular back when Brock Lesnar fought Shane Carwin, and even more so when he fought Alistair Overeem back in 2011, Ross really became enchanted with the sport from late-2013-2014 onwards.

He initially began covering MMA in tandem with football back in June 2016 just as he was finishing school. The first real event he covered on his own personal blog was UFC 200 in July of that year during international fight week. His content consisted of previews and event and results recaps. In between jobs, Ross produced content on the side before transitioning to a full-time position back in early 2019.

He initially started creating content on his own blog back in June of 2016, before becoming a staff writer, lead writer, and editor for websites such as MMA Motion, Combat Insiders, Fight Bananas, FightPost, Severe MMA, MMA Power Hour, FightBook MMA, LowKick MMA, and of course, Current MMA.

Back in 2019, Ross received the award Top Journalist of 2019 for FightBook MMA, before he was then promoted to the website's lead writer. Following a six-month period at MMA Power Hour, he was also employed as a junior editor for the company. Throughout his time in the industry, he has interviewed the likes of Colby Covington, Rhys McKee, Pedro Carvalho, Felicia Spencer, Eryk Anders, Jussier Formiga, Danni Neilan, Frans Mlambo, Alex Lohore, Blaine O'Driscoll, Modestas Bukauskas, Ross Houston, Jon Fitch, and Richie Smullen.

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