Four years ago, I was watching a lot of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu videos by “TrumpetDan,” an excellent teacher who was particularly good at translating Roger Gracie’s techniques into usable YouTube form. During his series on open guard, Dan invited then-purple belt Beneil Dariush to demonstrate his “Dariush guard,” an open position he’d used with great success in sport BJJ competitions. This all happened while Benny was just beginning to dabble in MMA.
You may not practice Jiu-Jitsu, but I’m sharing the video for a couple reasons. First, you might as well become more familiar with Dariush, because he has the potential to become a UFC fixture. He is 2-1 in the organization, and both wins came by submission. But on a more fight-philosophical level, the competition video portions are especially interesting because they demonstrate that he chose to use a very gi-dependent form of sport Jiu-Jitsu. And still, he is having great success in MMA.
Notice how Benny’s open guard depends heavily on strong sleeve and lapel grips, used to elongate and break his opponent’s posture and then transition to omoplata and triangle positions. As Dan notes at the start of the video, Dariush was also an accomplished no-gi competitor. But it is nonetheless interesting that his approach to traditional Jiu-Jitsu included a focus on an open guard technique that has no direct application in MMA.
Benny has since received a black belt in BJJ, and he has attended extensive Muay Thai training under Rafael Cordeiro. In this Countdown to UFC 179 video, we learn that it took him just two years training Jiu-Jitsu to secure multiple World and Pan-American championships. Then the transition happened.
“One day I get a call to fight MMA,” he remembered. “I said yes, because I was scared to tell my coach, ‘I’m scared to fight MMA.’” That was when he decided to join Kings MMA to work with Cordeiro, the Muay Thai coach who trained Anderson Silva, Shogun Rua and Fabricio Werdum.
According to Cordeiro, Benny “became one of the best guys inside the gym.”
After six MMA victories, Benny’s manager answered a call from the UFC. “I was kind of stunned by the whole thing,” Dariush said. And just fifteen days later, his training at Kings paid off. He dropped his opponent with a huge left hand, then submitted him with a BJJ-friendly rear naked choke. And now, he’s training wrestling.
You can watch Dariush fight Diego Ferriera during UFC 179’s opening main card fight this Saturday.
Dan “TrumpetDan” Lukehart is the owner of and head instructor at Brea Jiu-Jitsu in Brea, California. His excellent instructional videos are available here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TrumpetDanBJJ.