Beneil Dariush is confused by Michael Chandler and his claim to be the ‘next guy in line’ for a title shot.
Before Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev share the Octagon for the vacant UFC lightweight championship at UFC 280, Dariush returns against Mateusz Gamrot in what is widely considered a potential No. 1 contender bout. After all, the No. 6 lightweight expects to serve as the backup fighter for either Oliveira or Makhachev, should something happen to either of them before the pay-per-view event.
Given his current position, Dariush wonders why Chandler sees himself in a better one to receive a championship opportunity next. Chandler said on The MMA Hour this past September that a win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 281 should be enough to warrant it, but Dariush disagrees.
“Honestly, I think he’s just trying to hype himself up,” Dariush told Helen Yee recently. “I don’t think that’s true. But if that does happen, man, I will — that’s basically a clown show. What? The guy just had a title shot loss and then lost again. So it doesn’t make sense. After I beat Gamrot, I don’t think there’s anyone who can step in front of me.
“That being said, we’ll see what happens,” continued Dariush. “I think it would be a joke if he gets a title shot.”
Before Chandler can re-insert himself into contention, he has to defeat Poirier, and Dariush gave him a 40 percent chance of doing so within three rounds. The reason being is that the Kill Cliff FC product can get too caught up in entertaining than sticking to his game plan — something he had admitted to doing in the past.
“Only because Michael Chandler focused so much on being exciting, I think he actually gives up a lot of his skill sets,” said Dariush. “I think he could do way better than he’s actually done. I think he’s, what, 2-2 in the UFC? I think he could be undefeated right now if he had a better mindset, but he’s so focused on being entertaining and exciting, he’s lost two fights and that’s why I’m leaning more towards Dustin.”
UFC 280 goes down on Sat., Oct. 22, at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.