Top-Ranked Fighter ‘Shot Himself in Foot’ By Not Calling for UFC Title Match

Islam Makhachev

Getty Islam Makhachev

No. 4-ranked UFC lightweight Beneil Dariush earned his eighth straight victory in a row on Saturday, however he didn’t call for a title shot post-fight, which was the incorrect decision according to Alan Jouban.

Dariush defeated surging Mateusz Gamrot during the UFC 280 main card in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The victory placed Dariush one step closer to a championship fight, however during his interview with Daniel Cormier inside the Octagon, the American focused on his spirituality rather than staking a claim.

Every fighter ranked ahead of Dariush (22-4-1) is coming off a loss, and he holds the second-longest active win streak at lightweight.

Islam Makhachev snatched the vacant 155-pound belt during the night’s headliner against Charles Oliveira, and he made it clear that he wanted his first title defense to be against current featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski.

He beckoned Volkanovski – who was spectating the event – into the cage and both men agreed to meet each other during the promotion’s return to Australia in February.

Dariush ‘Shot Himself in the Foot’ By Not Using the Microphone to Further His Career, Jouban Said

Because of that, and Dariush’s unwillingness to verbally throw his name in the hat as the division’s next title contender, Dariush may miss out on a championship fight. And during a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Jouban, who is a former fighter-turned-ESPN analyst, gave his take on Dariush’s decision to holster any sort of a challenge.

“I was telling everyone, I was in Bristol at ESPN, Beneil was winning the fight and I go, ‘Beneil wins this fight, he had better take that hot mic and call out a title shot,’” Jouban said. “It better not go to, ‘Thank you lord savior Jesus Christ, thank you to my coach, thank you to my wife,’ and it ended there. He does that, he’s shooting himself in the foot.

“Sure enough, he wins the fight and all he did was — and I don’t want religious people to get mad at me — but you know what I’m getting at. You thank god, and then you move on. You can’t make the whole thing about religion and family and whoever’s next I’m happy with it. No!

“If you want the title shot, you have to say I want that belt and I’m next in line, I’m on the same card. Whoever wins tonight between Islam and Oliveira, I’m next in line! You have to make a soundbite for the UFC to promote this fight. But if they have nothing to promote a possible matchup, how are they going to make that matchup? He shot himself in the foot.”

Dariush ‘Deserves the Shot,’ Jouban Said, ‘Needs a Better PR Team’

Jouban has met and trained with Dariush, who he praised as a “down-to-Earth” person. Jouban reiterated his belief that Dariush should be the man vying for the belt next, and that the 155-pound fighter must look for a “better” public relations team.

“Beneil deserves the shot,” Jouban continued. “After taking out everyone that he’s taken out, he deserves the shot. Beneil needs a better PR team. Somebody behind him needs to get behind him. Because anybody who’s ever met Beneil will say the same thing — greatest dude ever. I’ve met him, I’ve rolled with him, such a down to Earth, likeable, cool [person]. He will roll with you, show you stuff while you’re training, a solid dude. He’s too nice. The fight game doesn’t like nice people.

“You have to demand something. You have to call something out. You have to make a soundbite. I wish Beneil would have done more to call his shot and make it enticing.”

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