"I was on the verge of retiring, actually. Can you imagine that? This whole streak would have never happened," Beneil Dariush revealed during an interview with SiriusXM.
The Assyrian-American fighter said the accumulation of injuries through years of fighting had taken a toll on his body. Dariush also shared that he had no idea how bad his neck was until he was knocked out by Alexander Hernandez at UFC 222.
"I had a lot of injuries that I just thought were just normal. You know, you get older you get these things – and I was only 28, I think, at that time – and one of the things was my neck. I didn't realize how bad it was until after the Hernandez fight, until we started going to a lot of doctors."
Thankfully, physical therapy helped Dariush get back in top shape. And according to him, finally getting healthy was the catalyst to his recent success and his emergence as a top contender in the UFC lightweight division.
Seven in a row for Beneil Dariush
Beneil Dariush's decision to continue competing paid off in a big way at the recently-concluded UFC 262. The fighter from Kings MMA scored the victory of his career against UFC star and perennial contender Tony Ferguson in the co-main event.
Beneil Dariush dominated 'El Cucuy' in all aspects of the game for three rounds. All three judges scored the contest 30-27 in favor of Dariush, who extended his winning streak to seven.
In round two, Dariush caught Ferguson in an inverted heel hook. He was torquing on it, but Ferguson soldiered through the pain and refused to tap out. After the fight, Dariush had nothing but praise for his opponent.
“It popped,” Dariush said of Ferguson’s knee. “I heard a big pop. Man, he’s a zombie, no doubt about it.”
The win propelled Dariush from ninth place to third spot in the UFC 155-pound division rankings.