Khabib Nurmagomedov, widely regarded as the greatest lightweight of all time, recently shared that he believes Charles Oliveira will not show up for his UFC 280 lightweight title fight against Islam Makhachev.
Beneil Dariush is expected to be the backup for the championship bout and will take on Mateusz Gamrot on the same card. He recently shared his take on Nurmagomedov's comments.
Speaking to Helen Yee, Dariush was asked about the comments from Khabib Nurmagomedov, to which he answered:
"I think these guys have been in this for too long because everybody's playing games. Sometimes, you just got to chill out. The fight's happening, relax, take your time, and let it play out the way it's supposed to. Let's stop with these games."
He went on to praise Oliveira, who has run through the lightweight division since Nurmagomedov's retirement:
"Charles goes out there and dies every time he fights. He's like 'kill or be killed.' Why insult the champion? I don't know what that was about, but I think Charles will be there."
Watch Beneil Dariush discuss Khabib Nurmagomedov's UFC 280 comments below (starting at the 3:20 mark):
It is unlikely that Oliveira doesn't show up for UFC 280. The No.1-ranked lightweight will be looking to regain the lightweight belt after losing it due to a weight miss at UFC 274. Makhachev, the No.4-ranked lightweight, will look to emerge victorious in his first title fight.
Comparing Charles Oliveira and Khabib Nurmagomedov's title reigns
Khabib Nurmagomedov is generally labeled as the greatest lightweight in mixed martial arts history. Many believe that Charles Oliveira could be coming for that mantle, particularly if he defeats Islam Makhachev at UFC 280.
A victory over Makhachev would mean that Oliveira would have defeated every other top five lightweight in less than 18 months.
While Nurmagomedov has a long list of accomplishments, particularly retiring undefeated, one knock on his career is that he didn't fight often. Despite remaining the lightweight champion for nearly three years, 'The Eagle' only defended his belt three times, which is still more than any other 155-pound titleholder previously.
If not for Oliveira's weight miss at UFC 274, a victory at UFC 280 would mark his third title defense since winning the belt less than 18 months ago.
Oliveira will enter UFC 280 with an 11-fight win streak on the line, while Makhachev has won his last 10 fights. It will mark the first time in UFC history that two fighters with double-digit win streaks have met in a title fight.