Don’t expect Beneil Dariush to have a title shot on his mind constantly.
The ninth ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight will do battle with fifth ranked Edson Barboza on March 11. The two are going to be competing inside the Centro de Formacao Olimpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil. The bout serves as the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 106.
Dariush has two straight victories. He became the first man to not only beat James Vick in a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) bout, but to also knock him out. He followed that performance up with a unanimous decision win over Rashid Magomedov back in Nov. 2016.
After going 1-2 in his last three bouts including losses to Michael Johnson and Tony Ferguson, Barboza has earned two huge victories over former champions. First, he outmatched former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis standing for a unanimous decision win. He then outclassed former Strikeforce lightweight king Gilbert Melendez.
Dariush told Flo Combat that he’s prepared to take the fight to Barboza, but he won’t be thinking about a title shot with a victory:
“I think it’s exciting. He has to be 100 percent focused and I have to be the same thing–100-percent focused. He’s going to try and be aggressive, and I’m going to try and be aggressive too. If he wants to come forward, then I’ll do the same thing and we can meet in the center and see where it goes from there. I think it’s pretty cool. I don’t think about the title shot too much anymore, I just want to fight the best guys in the world and if the title shot comes then it comes, but I’m not too concerned with that. Just being in the Octagon is a blessing and I want to fight the best guys before I retire so that I know I fought the best guys in my division. I never said no to a fight.