Dariush was flying high last year after extending his win streak to seven and entering the top five with a dominant victory over former interim champion Tony Ferguson in the UFC 262 co-main event.
He’d hoped to secure his first title shot on MMA’s biggest stage in what was thought to be a title eliminator versus Islam Makhachev in February. But an awkward training exchange just 10 days before the scheduled main event saw Dariush suffer a broken fibula, forcing him to withdraw.
Having avoided surgery and successfully healed the bone through physical therapy, the Iranian-born American is looking ahead to a potential August return that will come over a year on from his most recent appearance.
And although he has his sights set on the upper echelons of the division, including Makhachev, Charles Oliveira, Michael Chandler, and Dustin Poirier, it seems that the promotion has other plans.
While the Polish 31-year-old called out Justin Gaethje in his post-fight interview, the UFC president believes that a fight between “Gamer” and Dariush would be a good next step for both men.
“Yeah, I think what I love is I love Gamrot-Dariush, when he comes back,” White said.
In this week’s ranking update, Gamrot reaped the rewards of his narrow unanimous decision triumph over Tsarukyan, rising from #12 to #8 on the lightweight ladder. And with that, the Pole finds himself just two spots behind Dariush, whose forced inactivity has seen him slip three places since his statement-making win against “El Cucuy.”
While Dariush and his manager Ali Abdelaziz believe he’s earned a fight with a top name, the 33-year-old has expressed an ‘anyone, any time’ attitude in the past, previously admitting that it took Abdelaziz to stop him taking a lower-ranked opponent last December.
With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Dariush accept White’s proposal, especially given Gamrot’s impressive form and recent main event triumph.
Would you like to see Beneil Dariush return into a fight with Mateusz Gamrot? If not, who should he face instead?