- Beneil Dariush insisted that Khabib Nurmagomedov is still the lightweight GOAT
- The 33-year-old thinks Charles Oliveira should be P4P king after he beats Islam Makhachev and could be in GOAT talks after beating one more elite fighter
A few weeks from now, the UFC will finally have a new lightweight champion as Charles Oliveira takes on Islam Makhachev for the title at UFC 280. Ahead of the highly-touted bout, No. 6 lightweight contender Beneil Dariush shared his thoughts about the two.
Islam and Khabib comparison
In a recent interview with Helen Yee Sports, Dariush was asked to “evaluate” whether Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov really do have the same fighting style.
According to Dariush, the styles are identical but Khabib likes to go “wild” with his striking before taking the fight to the ground where he can dominate his opponent. Meanwhile, Makhachev also likes to beat his foes on the ground but he uses “very safe striking” before shooting for a takedown.
“Maybe skillset-wise they have similarities for sure,” Dariush said of Khabib and Islam. “Great grappling, they use a lot of striking, they’re defensive. But it’s weird because Khabib does this thing with his striking where he looks really wild. But everything he does wild is all like a mirage to set up his takedowns. On the other hand, Islam has a very safe striking and then he sets up his takedowns. They both use their striking for the same purpose – to get the takedown but one of them goes wild and the other one is reserved.”
“It’s a personality thing,” he added. “What your personality is, it reflects in your fights.”
Charles could be the P4P king
Dariush then explained that he believes, Oliveira should be the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter if he manages to beat Makhachev. By contrast, the Russian still has a long way to go.
“If Charles wins, yeah [he’s the P4P king],” Dariush said. “If Islam wins, it’s hard because this is his first ranked guy he’s fought. ON the other hand, Charles has fought so many ranked guys and beat so many ranked guys so I think if Islam wins, he’s definitely top five or even top three in the pound-for-pound but I think if Charles wins, he’s No. 1.”
For Dariush, Khabib is still the GOAT and behind him are Oliveira, Tony Ferguson and Rafael dos Anjos. The 33-year-old reckoned that even if Oliveira beat Makhachev, “do Bronx” needs to get past one more highly-rated fighter before he could be considered greatest of all time.
“I’d have to go Khabib [as No. 1 in GOAT list], and it’s like Tony and Charles that you can switch. Those are the two guys, I guess and then it would be Rafael dos Anjos. Those are my top four guys , I guess. BJ Penn too but you know, but that’s a lot to think about. Charles in my opinion, he’s on the verge of being the greatest lightweight of all time but I think a little bit more. I think he needs more than just this. I think maybe one more after this and then we can talk about GOAT status.”
“Yeah. [Khabib’s still the GOAT] He really did do something amazing he came in, he beat everybody. I wish he fought more grapplers but you can’t deny his success. He did amazing.”
UFC 280 is set to happen on Oct. 22 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. Should something uncertain takes place, Dariush was informed last month that he serve as a backup. So Let’s see how things would play out.