Next weekend, Dariush will be in action as part of a stacked UFC 280 pay-per-view event. On the main card, he’ll look to cement his position high up the 155-pound ladder by halting the surge of Mateusz Gamrot.
The Iranian-born American will also have a close eye on the main event, not just because it features gold up for grabs in his division, but due to the fact that he could be next in line for the winner.
In the headliner, recent champion Oliveira will look to reclaim his place on the throne having been unseated through a weight miss earlier this year. To do so, he’ll have to spoil the plans of fast-rising Dagestani Makhachev.
In the buildup, a lot has been said between the two headliners, with Oliveira suggested that Makhachev doesn’t deserve a title opportunity and the Russian firing back with ducking accusations.
Makhachev and his team have also been extremely vocal on Twitter. As well as mentor and friend Khabib Nurmagomedov doubting that Oliveira will show up, the #4-ranked contender has appeared extremely confident, even predicting a third-round victory in one post.
But one of Makhachev’s fellow contenders has advised him to be wary of doubting the Brazilian’s threat.
Dariush Tells Makhachev: ‘The Guy You’re Fighting Isn’t Afraid’
During a recent episode of UFC Unfiltered, Dariush assessed the rise of Oliveira, which has seen “Do Bronx” turn around a 10-8-1 start in the Octagon with 11 straight wins.
When asked whether the former champ gets the respect he deserves, Dariush acknowledged the narratives that came ahead of victories over Michael Chandler and Gaethje, with the latter often branding Oliveira a “quitter” following his win at UFC 262.
Noting that Oliveira proved both men wrong, Dariush warned Makhachev against following suit with a similar mindset.
“Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn’t (get the respect he deserves),” Dariush said. “I honestly don’t get it. I respect him a lot. I like the way he fights. He goes out there and fights with his heart. And he comes back from the dead basically. You’ve seen him go out in a round and he gets almost 10-8’d, where you think he’s gonna get knocked out the next round. Then you see him go back, his coaches talk to him, and something happens in his head. Something clicks again. Amazing, it’s amazing.
“Sometimes people don’t give him respect, and I don’t understand why. Justin did that a little bit, but he changed his tune. Michael Chandler (did), obviously. All these guys did, but they changed their turn. I think Khabib is doing it right now, and I think he (Makhachev) should be careful,” Dariush added. “I think he really should be careful. The guy he’s fighting is not afraid, and that’s a scary man.”
While Oliveira had been open about his desire to avoid facing Makhachev in order to secure a money fight with Conor McGregor, he hasn’t let that dwindle his confidence now that he’s booked against the Dagestani.
With that, he’ll hope to put a dent in his Russian rival’s self-belief with another memorable display and the continuation of his fairy-tale resurgence.
This story originally appeared on MMANews.com. Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.