Ali Abdelaziz believes that the UFC made a mistake by booking a lightweight title clash between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski. The two are set to lock horns in the headliner of UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, on February 12.
According to Abdelaziz, Alexander Volkanovski should not have been booked as Makhachev's next opponent over Beneil Dariush. Dariush, the No.4-ranked contender in the lightweight division, is currently on an eight-fight win streak, having picked up impressive wins over the likes of Tony Ferguson and Mateusz Gamrot.
Although he respects Volkanovski, Abdelaziz feels that 'The Great' is no match for his Dagestani counterpart. The high-profile MMA manager further stated that his client Dariush is the only active fighter in the entire division who can give Makhachev a run for his money.
During a recent interview with MMA Underground, Abdelaziz said:
"I think the UFC made a mistake by making this fight because I think it should have been Beneil Dariush [fighting Islam Makhachev instead of Alexander Volkanovski] and I truly mean it... I think it's a mistake [on Volkanovski's part] to fight Islam right now. I think it's a mistake. The only man who can give him a fight is Beneil."
Watch the entire interview below:
Following Islam Makhachev's dominant win over Charles Oliveira at UFC 280, the reigning lightweight champion's coach and teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov announced that they want the 31-year-old to defend the title against Alexander Volkanovski.
Interestingly, like Dariush, both Nurmagomedov and Makhachev are managed by Abdelaziz.
Beneil Dariush unwilling to wait for winner of Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski
Beneil Dariush is currently one win away from fighting for the lightweight strap. Although he's next in line to face the winner of Makhachev vs. Volkanovski, the Iranian-born American fighter isn't willing to wait another eight to nine months before stepping inside the cage.
Instead, Dariush is interested in fighting another top contender in the 155lbs division before challenging for the title. Although he knows he risks losing an almost guaranteed title shot if he doesn't wait, Dariush loves the sport too much to stay on the sidelines for too long.
During an appearance on the Morning Kombat podcast, the 33-year-old said:
"I don’t want to sit out for another eight months, nine months, a year-and-a-half. I love fighting. I just want to fight. You’re not gonna be able to dangle the belt in front of me. The belt doesn’t make me feel special."
Watch Dariush on Morning Kombat below: