Earlier this week, another blockbuster clash in the 155-pound division was revealed. In November we had a barnburner between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler, this month will see Dustin Poirier challenge for Charles Oliveira’s gold, and February 2022 will now see top-five elites Dariush and Makhachev collide in a UFC Fight Night main event.
Both men will enter the five-rounder riding lengthy winning streaks. For the Iranian-born American, victories over names like Drew Dober, Drakkar Klose, Diego Ferreira, and Tony Ferguson have seen him have his hand raised in seven straight fights. Makhachev, meanwhile, got past Arman Tsarukyan, Thiago Moisés, and Dan Hooker on his way to nine consecutive triumphs.
In the aftermath of the booking being reported, Makhachev’s compatriot, friend, and teammate Khabib appeared to make a revelation. “The Eagle” claimed the #4-ranked lightweight will receive a special reward from the UFC if he’s able to put Dariush away inside the 25-minute distance on February 26.
Dariush Says The “Double Bonus” Is In His Contract As Well
According to Dariush, Khabib’s comments were simply an attempt to add a little drama to the matchup, as he boasts the same bonus in his own contract. During an interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, the 32-year-old confirmed that Makhachev isn’t receiving anything special or unheard of.
“I don’t know if I feel like I’m in competition with him (Khabib), but I feel like, maybe, he’s trying to do a little bit of a drama show. Like when he talks about contracts and how Islam is getting a bonus to finish me and stuff like that. You know, I feel like he’s throwing a little digs in there, which, in reality, I think is funny… I was gonna joke, I was like, ‘Man, I’m gonna call Ali (Abdelaziz) and tell him, listen Ali, give me Khabib’s number, I wanna make this guy my manager because I don’t understand why he’s getting bonuses.’
“But I’m just kidding. In reality, I get the same thing. I have the same thing in my contract… I have that double bonus in my contract. Yeah, yeah, I have the same assurances… It has nothing to do with the name of the fighter, it’s just in your contract. So, you know, drama show, everywhere you go it’s a little bit of a drama show. But at least the way Khabib does it, it’s not like, personal. So I don’t mind it, I actually appreciate it.”
While he knows he’ll be receiving the same double bonus as Makhachev if he finishes the Dagestani, Dariush isn’t so sure he has the same assurances when it comes to a title shot. Despite a victory over Makhachev, on paper, making him the clear top contender, the 32-year-old recognizes that the promotion will do whatever is best for business.
“I don’t know about if I’m going to get a title shot. Listen, with me, just because the way I am, you never know when I’m gonna get this title shot. And I don’t think it’s because Dana (White) or Sean (Shelby) don’t like me, I think they like me, but like, they’re businessmen. They have to make the right choice for their business; what’s gonna sell more pay-per-view, what’s gonna get more eyes on the fights, and I recognize that… If I continue doing what I’m doing inside that Octagon, I’m eventually gonna get the eyes and the people to open up their pocketbooks and pay for that pay-per-view.”
Should Beneil Dariush receive a title shot if he halts the charge of Islam Makhachev in February 2022?