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Beneil Dariush forgoes surgery, targets return in summer against Islam Makhachev

Dariush was forced to withdraw from his fight with Makhachev at UFC Vegas 49 because of a leg injury. 

Beneil Dariush before his fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 262.
Beneil Dariush before his fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 262.
Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC

Beneil Dariush is forgoing surgery on the injured leg that kept him out of his fight against Islam Makhachev at UFC Vegas 49 this past Saturday.

Dariush suffered a broken fibula during a training session and was forced to withdraw from the event. Makhachev met a short-notice replacement in Bobby Green, who he defeated via first-round technical knockout.

Despite the severity of his injury, Dariush has decided to forgo surgery and focus on the physical therapy needed to heal his ankle. The No. 4 ranked lightweight contender spoke to Brett Okamoto of ESPN on Wednesday and revealed that his recovery time will now be a few weeks as opposed to the few months he was preparing for.

“The physical therapy comes in for the ankle,” said Dariush. “The ankle right now is going to get weaker and it’s going to get lazy. And also certain ways you sleep and things you do, it’s going to get tighter. The ankle goes downhill. The physical therapy is really just to keep the ankle healthy and if the ankle is healthy, I should be able to be 100 percent [in] six to eight weeks is what they’re saying.

“At first, they were talking four months just to start training again,” continued Dariush. “So when I heard six to eight weeks, I almost started crying again. Man, it was a rough week for me.”

Now that he can expect to return sooner, Dariush was excited to hear Makhachev was still available as an option to him. The 30-year-old made headlines yet again, this time for his willingness to step in on days’ notice to fight Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 272 after his original opponent — Rafael Fiziev — tested positive for COVID-19 recently.

Though believed to be a done deal, UFC president Dana White told Robbie Fox of Barstool Sports that Dos Anjos vs. Makhachev was not happening since Makhachev turned down the fight. And because of that, White said he would be rebooking Dariush vs. Makhachev instead, which was good news for the Kings MMA product.

“I really want to see this fight, too,” said Dariush. “I got so stoked. I was like, ‘Yes! Thank God, we’re going to be rescheduled’. I mean, I feel bad for Islam. I’m sure he’s not very happy about the situation, but this is the ideal situation for me where I get this fight rebooked.

“I’d like to have another 10 weeks for this camp, if possible. But if it’s shorter, it’s shorter. But that would be ideal. June, July — those are good dates. We’ll see.”

Should Dariush vs. Makhachev get rebooked in the summer, the events that could host the highly anticipated lightweight fight are UFC on ESPN+ 69, UFC 275 or UFC 276, the latter of which being the pay-per-view at the end of International Fight Week.