Within the next 24 hours, UFC Fight Night 39 will be kicking off, and with it, another showing by BJJ black belt, Beneil Dariush, who made quite an impression on fans and media alike when he scored a first round finish over Charlie Brenneman. This time, he'll be squaring off against another ground specialist in Ramsey Nijem.
Beneil hails from a small village in Iran, where he was raised on a farm. As a matter of fact, he actually contemplated continuing the farming tradition, but that was before he discovered jiu-jitsu at the age of 18. Once that happened, there was no turning back, and the progression into MMA was soon to follow.
In a recent interview with MMA Sentinel, Beneil discussed his opponent, why he retired from BJJ, and how many fights he thinks he'll need to get a crack at the lightweight title. Here's what he had to say:
Retiring from BJJ
I had a bit of an ego when I was younger, thinking I could be the best at both jiu-jitsu and fighting, but as I got older, I realized that the six months I was putting into MMA, another guy was putting into jiu-jitsu on a full time basis. I always noticed when I was dividing my time, when I would come back to MMA, the first month would be terrible, the second month would be a little better, and the third month I'd be feeling good. Then I had three more months to get a fight in, then go back to BJJ. Same thing would happen there. First month would be awkward, second month would be a little better, and the third month I was back to normal.
I could never keep that "feeling good" thing going, though. I always went back to the other and started the whole cycle again, starting with awkwardness.
I really don't believe in being ‘gifted.' I really think what you put in is what you get. People say, ‘Oh, this guy is so athletic and so naturally talented', well think about it. He's been doing martial arts since the age of 4 or whatever.
When I was growing up, I was always outside. I think that's helped me, as far as athletics go, but to improve in anything, you just have to invest time. What you put in is what you're gonna get back.
It's not just about investing time, it's also about being smart with that investment. I don't just go to a practice, then get some food after and call it a day. I go to practice thinking of what I need to work on, what's my coach teaching me, why he's teaching me this and making sure I don't miss anything. You have to be attentive. I think this is the reason why you see improvements in my game.
I think the most important thing is to focus on yourself. The improvements should come from you. That said, I like to watch tape on my opponent, so I can learn a little bit about the way they move. I am a student of the game. I have Fight Pass, and I'll just sit down and watch fights of people that aren't even in my division. I really enjoy the sport.
To be honest, I feel like I'm better than him everywhere. That's really what I'm seeing when I watch his fight footage. He's an ever improving fighter though, so I'm ready and prepared for the unexpected. You can never go by someone's last fight and think that's what they bring to the table for the next one, especially when they are always improving. I'm going into this thinking he's got new things in his game, and I'm gonna be ready for that.
Getting More Experience
I want more ring time, for sure. Of course you always want a finish, and that's the most important thing in a fight, to always look for a finish. When you finish a guy, there's no doubt. Nobody can say anything other than you beat him, you won.
I do need more ring time, more experience, because I think all my fights put together might make 30 minutes. It's definitely something I need more of, but if I get a finish, I get a finish [laughs].
How Many Wins for a Title Shot?
Actually, I've not really thought about it. I just take it one fight at a time. Right now, my teammate Rafael dos Anjos has 5 wins in a row, and after his next fight, he'll have 6. I would think the same thing applies to me. Maybe 6 or 7 more wins, maybe even 8. I definitely want to earn my title shot, so nobody can question if I was rushed into it. If it comes quicker, I certainly won't complain. I'm ready to fight anybody.
You can follow Beneil via his Twitter account, @BeneilDariush_