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Beneil Dariush to serve as a backup to Oliveira vs Makhachev fight at UFC 280

Beneil Dariush, a lightweight contender in the UFC, might compete for the title sooner than anticipated. The 33-year-old hasn't competed since winning by decision over Tony Ferguson in May of last year. Dariush has since had a failed encounter with Islam Makhachev. Thought to be a title eliminator, the fight was abandoned when the Iranian fighter became hurt.

The lightweight division has changed drastically since the 33-year-old has been out of the ring. In May, the previous champion Charles Oliveira had his lightweight gold removed. Next month, the Brazilian will compete for the vacant title against Makhachev.

Dariush says he has been instructed to be ready in case something happens to either of the main event competitors as he gets ready for his own fight against Mateusz Gamrot on the same card on October 22.

“That’s what [my manager] Ali [Abdelaziz] told me, I was the backup for this,” Dariush revealed in an interview with MMA Fighting. “If something goes wrong, they would put me in.”

Alexander Volkanovski, the featherweight champion, hinted that he would compete in the main event's backup matchup before UFC 280. But it doesn't seem to be the case. Dariush appears to be the backup right now.

To prevent high-profile main events from unraveling in the days preceding the show, the UFC has recently either scheduled a fight in the same weight division or hired a fighter to act as a backup.

During the pandemic, the practice was often used when athletes, coaches, or teammates tested positive for COVID-19, necessitating multiple last-minute adjustments to competitions. Now, just to be on the safe side to avoid losing a major main event, the UFC has a "just-in-case" policy.

The extra weight needed to cut for a title fight won't be a problem for Dariush as he prepares for Gamrot as part of the undercard; he encountered a similar situation when he appeared on the same card as Oliveira, who at UFC 262 took on Michael Chandler for the vacant lightweight title.

“Yeah, of course [I’ll make 155 pounds],” Dariush said. “It’s not that hard. I make 156. Last time in Texas [at UFC 262], I was pretty much 155 when I fought.

Let us know about your thoughts regarding this decision of UFC to make Beneil Dariush as a backup fighter for the Lightweight Championship.


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