Drew Dober believes Beneil Dariush is the man to dethrone reigning lightweight titleholder Islam Makhachev.
Dober will be back in action on May 6 as the promotion heads to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey for UFC 288. Headlined by a bantamweight title fight between champion Aljamain Sterling and returning champ-champ Henry Cejudo, Dober will look to score his fourth-straight finish against 155-pound standout Matt Frevola.
Before stepping back inside the Octagon next month, Dober spoke with Mike Owens in a MiddleEasy exclusive to discuss the current state of the division. Asked for his thoughts on the potential lightweight title eliminator between Beneil Dariush and Charles Oliveira, Dober revealed that he is a very big fan of ‘Benny’ and believes that he will not only beat Oliveira but will also be the man to take the title off the current lightweight king Islam Makhachev.
“I’m a huge Beneil Dariush fan. He’s so underrated and deserving of much more,” Dober said. “I don’t know why the UFC seems to hate Beneil, but he has the best chance of beating Islam Makhachev. He’s so talented. I think Beneil is going to beat Charles Oliveira and I think he deserves that title shot. To me, personally, he’s the number one contender right now. I don’t think anyone’s ahead of him.
“I just keep hearing these rumors and these articles of the hate on Beneil and I just think it’s outrageous. So you just count me in for Beneil beating Charles and beating Islam.”
Drew Dober Was Very Impressed With Alexander Volkanovski’s Performance Against Islam Makhachev
Turning his attention toward Islam Makhachev, Drew Dober suggested that Alexander Volkanovski may have exposed the blueprint for beating the Dagestani destroyer. Dober also believes that if Makhachev wants to stay on top of the division for the long haul, he will need to change up his game plan.
“In MMA, regardless of who you are, you’re going to be figured out and we see it with champions all the time. You can’t do the same thing over and over and over and expect nobody to figure it out. Volkanovski showcased a lot of success against Islam and I think the lightweight division is drooling out of their mouths right now. They want to take advantage of that opportunity too. Islam Makhachev needs to bring something else to the table to maintain that number-one spot.”
Dober also reiterated his stance on a potential lightweight title fight between Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush.
“The fight that needs to happen is Islam Makhachev vs. Beneil and Beneil’s an ever-growing and evolving fighter. Knockouts, submissions wrestling. He’s got it all. Islam needs to bring something more to the table if he wants to stay on top.”
Dober admitted that he was very surprised by the performance that Alexander Volkanovski delivered in his UFC 284 headliner with Islam Makhachev this past February. So much so that he even took notes to take with him into his own training sessions.
“Very surprised. I didn’t think Volk was capable of doing all that. I was watching that fight like a fan. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this has happened. It’s amazing.’ And when that fight was over, I had my notebook out. I was taking down notes like, ‘That’s the way it’s supposed to done.’ We took those notes and we’re practicing it now. I definitely took a lot from Volkanovski in that fight.”
Sitting in the No. 14 spot in the lightweight rankings, Drew Dober has a ways to go before finding himself in title contention. If he can score another impressive win over Matt Frevola at UFC 288, it could go a long way toward finally landing him a top-ten ranking.