After second straight loss at UFC Austin, what’s next for Beneil Dariush?

MMA: UFC Fight Night - Austin - Dariush vs Tsarukyan
Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Austin, we saw a big time matchup in the lightweight division. Top contender Beneil Dariush (22-6-1) was looking to bounce back and halt the momentum of rising contender Arman Tsarukyan (21-3).

This was such a compelling matchup because of the skillsets of both men. With both being top level grapplers, you figured going into the matchup that we’d see the two of them stand toe-to-toe and that’s exactly what happened. What I didn’t expect is for the fight to barely last a single minute.

Dariush came out strong with powerful kicks. Anything he throws has so much heat behind it and I thought he could give Tsarukyan problems with that power. However, I also thought that Tsarukyan could give Dariush problems with his speed and boy did he ever. Just over a minute into the first round, Tsarukyan missed with a knee but fired a huge right over the top.

The right landed on Dariush clean and Dariush went down. Tsarukyan followed up with a few shots and it was all over at UFC Austin.

What’s next after UFC Austin?

You couldn’t help but feel bad for Dariush as he was sitting there looking defeated after the tough loss. Dariush entered 2023 as the betting favorite to defeat Charles Oliveira when they fought earlier this year. Had he defeated Oliveira, he would’ve won his ninth straight fight and it would’ve been him scheduled to fight Islam Makhachev when the UFC went to Abu Dhabi in October.

Instead, Oliveira finished him in the first round and now Tsarukyan finished him in the first round. In the blink of an eye, Dariush went from an eight-fight winning streak to back-to-back first round losses. So, what does the UFC do with Dariush after this loss?

Dariush is in a very tricky position and there’s not a ton of great fights that just jump out. In looking at the division, Renato Moicano can make sense or maybe even a Benoit Saint-Denis who has been on a roll lately. Dariush needs a step back and he’s going to be fighting with a ton of pressure whenever he steps in the cage next.