Beneil Dariush is preparing for what is undoubtedly the biggest fight of his career, against former interim titleholder Tony Ferguson. The two elite lightweights clash at UFC 262 as the PPV card's co-main event.
Dariush is coming off wins over high-level opposition such as Diego Ferreira and Scott Holtzman, and a win here would see the Iranian fighter catapulted into the title picture.
Alternatively, Ferguson is on the first two-fight skid of his career. 'El Cucuy' lost an interim title fight to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 in May 2020 and was then out-grappled by Charles Olivera at UFC 256 in December 2020.
Dariush Looking to beat Ferguson at his own game:
Regardless of Ferguson's most recent losses, he is still an elite lightweight, a fact Dariush is fully aware of. Speaking in an interview on 'UFC 262 Countdown: Ferguson vs. Dariush', Dariush had the following to say about his upcoming opponent:
"Tony, he's either number one or number two as the best lightweights of all time. And for everything he brings for me, I have to bring back two or three. Because he's so wild, if you hit him with one, he'll be like, that's ok I'll trade you one for one."
Dariush will attempt to do what no man, bar Justin Gaethje, has ever been able to do: out pressure Tony Ferguson. He states that:
"I have to make sure I put some hurt on him, so he doesn't want to trade. And that's how the fight has to be. I have to just make sure he's got nothing for me."
Taking things one step further, Dariush says he wants to beat Ferguson at his own game, declaring that he will attempt to "out crazy" 'El Cucuy.'
"Tony can out crazy a lot of people. And so a lot of my gameplan might be just out crazying Tony. It's gonna be my dream or his dream. This is where it's decided."
To the winner go the spoils:
The winner of this fight will instantly place themselves right back in the lightweight top five. With the former undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov officially retiring from the sport, the division is wide open.
Whilst Charles Olivera and Michael Chandler will fight for the lightweight title as UFC 262's main event, a decisive finish for Dariush or Ferguson may well set them up to be next in line. Dustin Poirier is undoubtedly deserving of the shot but decided to take the fight against McGregor in July instead. If he wins, he could retain his number one spot in the rankings.
Watch our exclusive interview with Dustin 'The Diamond' Poirier right here!