Rafael Fiziev hopes to challenge for the lightweight title if he triumphs at UFC 286, but he also acknowledges that another fighter in the division is more deserving of the opportunity.
In the co-main event of UFC 286, "Ataman" will face Justin Gaethje, and many fans are anticipating one of the evening's most thrilling fights between the two lightweights.
The winner of Fiziev vs. Gaethje might easily be the next contender for UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev, but another top lightweight combination is set to clash at UFC 288 when former champion Charles Oliveira takes on Beneil Dariush.
When asked what he would need to do to distinguish himself from the winner of Oliveira vs. Dariush and secure a title chance, Fiziev, 33, conceded that Dariush already has a compelling case for facing Makhachev next.
“Yeah I also think like if I [beat Gaethje], if I [beat] him I deserve that title shot,” Fiziev answered. “But, UFC also make it how they want and I can’t say.
Like if they give title shot for winner of Oliveira and Dariush, then okay. Dariush, I think he deserve it more than anyone in this division. If he give me after this fight, also happy, you know?”
Although "Benny" has been a member of the UFC roster since 2014, his current victory streak, which he began in 2018, is his best run of success to date. The 33-year-old has won eight straight contests, and on the main card of UFC 280, he most recently defeated Mateusz Gamrot by unanimous decision.
The contest between Fiziev and Gaethje is expected to have a significant impact on the lightweight title race.