Former strawweight champ Zhang Weili said that booing fans were to blame for losing her title at UFC 261. After enduring boos all the way to victory at UFC 262, Beneil Dariush seems to think that is just a bad excuse.
For years, Dariush has been working on putting together a resume in the lightweight division that is worthy of attention. He’s been doing just that too, riding a six fight winning streak heading into his UFC 262 matchup with Tony Ferguson.
Despite Tony being the overwhelming fan favorite, with boos showering down on Beneil throughout the entirety of the 15 minutes, he was able to secure a dominant decision victory. This was, by far, the biggest win of his career so far.
Beneil Dariush Rips Zhang Weili
The fact that Beneil Dariush was able to secure victory despite booing from the crowd, came in stark contrast to former strawweight champion Zhang Weili saying that the crowd booing distracted her, and led to her losing her title to Rose Namajunas. This is something that did not go unnoticed by Beneil.
Speaking in a recent interview with Jimmy Smith, the 32-year-old was asked about the differences and how he handled things, juxtaposed to how Zhang dealt with booing. He believes that she was just using that as an excuse for having lost her title.
“I’m going to be honest with you, I think that’s a sorry excuse. That’s a very bad excuse,” Dariush said.
“People are afraid to pick who they want to root for. People are all ‘Dariush is so nice, I don’t know why he’s being booed.’ Who cares? People want to boo me, let them boo me… Just to say that distracted you, I’m sorry, that’s a terrible excuse. I get it, it’s not an easy thing to deal with, but as an athlete, that’s your responsibility.”
Heading Straight For The Title
With this win over Tony Ferguson, Beneil Dariush is set for a massive fight for his next outing into the Octagon. At the time that they fought, Tony was ranked fifth in the division, so there is only a few options for a fight that makes sense moving forward.
While some have speculated that he could fight the likes of Justin Gaethje, or even Michael Chandler, Beneil has other plans. He believes that he could sneak right in for a title shot, based off the seven fights he has won in a row and how quickly he could fight again.
“At first I was thinking we’re going to have to see how Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor goes, but now that I think about it more, I think I might be able to get a title shot,” Dariush explained.
“If you think about it, those guys don’t do so all when it comes to negotiating their contracts. They take forever and I Might be able to jump in and be like you know what, I’m ready to go. I think I’m the most dangerous opponent for Charles (Oliveira) and I think that’s something we should put together. I think Dana might just like that.
“If you think about it, Connor fights Dustin and then they take forever,” Dariush continued. “What are we supposed to do? We’re just supposed to hang out here and let the division get backed up? You can toss me in there with Charles and I can fight for that.
“If not, maybe I can get the loser of Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor. If that doesn’t work out, I’m thinking Chandler. This is how I’m thinking, strategically. I don’t really care who it is, but strategically those are three things that make sense.”
🔊"People are free to pick who they want to root for…They want to boo me, let them boo me."@beneildariush explains why dealing with a hostile crowd is all part of the job & why he thinks his next fight could be for the LW title after his victory at #UFC262 👊 @jimmysmithmma pic.twitter.com/9fEPj7k9Hx
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) May 17, 2021
What do you think should be next for Beneil Dariush? Should he get a crack at UFC gold?