Friday, December 9, 2022

Dariush Won’t Be Happy If McGregor Jumps The Queue For A Title Shot

UFC lightweight contender Beneil Dariush has admitted he harbors some concern over the possibility of former two-division champion Conor McGregor jumping him in the queue for a title shot.

Given his hard-fought rise up the 155-pound ladder, it’s understandable Dariush wouldn’t be best pleased if the #9-ranked lightweight was granted a championship fight after back-to-back defeats in the division. While McGregor has been through large spells of inactivity, Dariush has been grinding inside the Octagon.

Since 2016, McGregor has had his hand raised once with a victory over Donald Cerrone at welterweight. In the same period, Dariush has built his entire active seven-fight winning streak. Victories over the likes of Thiago Moisés, Drew Dober, Drakkar Klose, Diego Ferreira, and Tony Ferguson have seen the Iranian-born American climb to the #3 spot in the rankings.

Now inches away from a title shot, Dariush will be looking to secure his place opposite the champion in 2022 when he meets surging Dagestani contender Islam Makhachev. The pair are expected to clash in the main event of a UFC Fight Night on February 26.

Dariush Will Call Dana White Personally If McGregor Gets A Title Shot

Despite his much-superior ranking, better form, and abundance of wins, Dariush isn’t as sure of his advantage over McGregor as he should be. That, perhaps, wasn’t helped by the former double champ’s recent claim that he’ll be fighting whoever sits on the lightweight throne when he returns.

During a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, Dariush admitted he remains concerned about the Irishman skipping the queue in order to face arch-rival Dustin Poirier for the fourth time. That, of course, also depends on “The Diamond” successfully dethroning Charles Oliveira at UFC 269 next weekend.

Dariush said that if he finds himself below McGregor the pecking order, even with a headlining win against Makhachev, he’ll be upset at the promotion for the first time ever, and claimed he’d be having stern words with UFC President Dana White.

“Yes, it’s definitely a concern. Because you know, I always make a joke about this but it’s true; Conor can make a highlight video of him training hard and (people will be) like, ‘Alright guys, title shot. Give the man a title shot. Look what he is doing. Look at the way he is hitting the bag or look at the way he’s, you know, pushing himself in the wheelchair.’ I don’t know man, he can do whatever he wants and he will get a title shot.

“It could happen but if it does happen, it’ll be the first time I’m upset with the UFC. And I’m gonna call Dana [White] personally and be like, ‘Listen buddy, you’re gonna triple my paycheck if we’re gonna do it this way. Because if you’re going to insult me this way, at least you’re gonna show me respect with your pocketbook.'”

Conor McGregor
Joe Rogan, Conor McGregor. Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

McGregor’s quest to regain the lightweight belt, which he won back in 2016 with a memorable victory over Eddie Alvarez inside Madison Square Garden, was firmly derailed this year.

While a knockout loss in January did damage to his pursuit of gold, a defeat at UFC 264 further affected his title aspirations, but also did some significant physical damage. After a gruesome broken leg, the Irishman has been on the sidelines ever since, and is expected to be out until deep into 2022.

How would you react if Conor McGregor was granted an immediate title shot upon his return from injury?