Is Dan Hooker – Beneil Dariush the fight to make after UFC 266?

This past Saturday during the prelims of UFC 266, Dan Hooker (21-10) made his return as he took on Nasrat Haqparast (13-4). The fight was considered a risky one by Hooker considering his placement in the division.

Hooker is a top ten lightweight in the UFC and Haqparast is not ranked, yet, he’s viewed as very dangerous. However, Hooker just wanted to get back in the cage after suffering back-to-back losses.

Both men had visa issues getting into the US for this fight, but both showed up on weight for UFC 266 and put on a performance. From the moment the fight started, Hooker was the one pressing forward.

When Hooker lost to Michael Chandler, he was constantly backing up. He made the adjustment in this fight and he was the one putting the pressure on Haqparast. Hooker did eat some shots, but he just kept coming forward.

I was incredibly impressed with how well-rounded of a performance Hooker had at UFC 266. He had good pressure, good striking, and mixed in some beautiful takedowns. All of this added up to a lopsided decision win for The Hangman.

Is Dariush next after UFC 266?

After his big win to get back on track at UFC 266, there was one name on the mind of Dan Hooker and that was Beneil Dariush (21-4-1). Dariush is currently ranked third in the UFC’s lightweight division, but he’s without an opponent.

After picking up six straight wins, Dariush finally got his first big fight against tony Ferguson back in May. Dariush put on an incredible performance as he dominated and controlled Tony Ferguson for fifteen minutes.

Considering where everyone’s at in the division, Hooker makes the most sense for Dariush next. Islam Makhachev is the only guy near Dariush, but he’s tentatively scheduled to face Raphael Dos Anjos at UFC 267. That fight is in trouble due to a knee injury to RDA.

If that fight falls through, perhaps Dariush takes on Makhachev. However, I think a fight with Hooker would make more sense for him. Hooker has a decent following and it’s a better fight for Dariush stylistically. It’s what Hooker wants and it’s the right fight for Dariush. Sign me up!

UFC: Michael Chandler hopes to return near the end of the year

Michael Chandler (22-6) is still dealing with the disappointment from failing to capture the UFC lightweight title last Saturday. In the headliner of UFC 262, Chandler took on Charles Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC) for the vacant lightweight championship.

The first round of their fight at UFC 262 was one of the best opening rounds of a championship fight I’ve seen in a while. It had it all and both men looked like they could finish the fight in the first round.

For Oliveira, he was able to get Chandler’s back in the first have of the round. A lot of people thought that if Oliveira could get in that dominant of a position at UFC 262, he could finish the fight by submission.

In fact, I picked Oliveira to win by submission. However, Chandler powered through and got out of the dangerous position. The second half of the round was all Michael Chandler and he hurt Oliveira badly on the feet.

At one point, it appeared that the fight was seconds away from getting stopped. Chandler had the UFC lightweight title within his reach, but Oliveira was able to survive the onslaught and we went to the second round.

Much like the first round changed on a dime, the second round changed on a dime. After coming close to finishing the fight in the first round, Chandler was clipped with a perfect left hook from Charles Oliveira.

Oliveira followed up with some finishing shots and captured the UFC lightweight title. For a moment in the first, Michael Chandler’s perfect UFC start appeared to be going according to plan. However, he left the door open and Charles Oliveira took advantage.

UFC return for Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler sat down with MMA on Point this week to break down UFC 262 and talk about his next steps. Chandler admittedly thought he wouldn’t be in a position to consider his options following a loss.

The former Bellator champion said that he planned on winning the UFC title and wanted to wait for the winner of Dustin Poirier – Conor McGregor 3. If that would’ve happened, Chandler said he thought the UFC would book him anywhere from November to January of 2022.

Despite losing at UFC 262, Chandler is wanting to stick to that timeline. Chandler said, “November at the earliest. December, maybe even January. I’m not getting any younger… Obviously, the stakes are high, the competition is high. No matter what, I’ll step inside the cage with a top five guy.”

Opponents to watch for in his UFC return would be Justin Gaethje, Beneil Dariush, Rafael Dos Anjos, or perhaps Islam Makhachev. The loser of McGregor – Poirier could also be an option. As Chandler said, the UFC will give him a top five guy next regardless and if he wins impressively, he’ll be right back in the title mix.

UFC: ‘Pissed’ Tony Ferguson isn’t going anywhere

Tony Ferguson, UFC

This past Saturday at UFC 262, Tony Ferguson (25-6) met Beneil Dariush (21-4-1) in the co-main event of the evening. The former interim lightweight champion was looking to snap his two-fight losing streak.

Prior to UFC 262, El Cucuy looked like he was back to training the way he did during his 12-fight win streak. Ferguson was embracing the process and looked like he was ready to make a statement.

However, Saturday night didn’t go according to plan. Ferguson could never get started and was steamrolled by Beneil Dariush at UFC 262. Dariush used his superior grappling to get Ferguson to the ground and hold him there for three rounds.

The judges gave a clean sweep to Dariush on the scorecards. The loss meant that the former UFC interim champion had suffered three consecutive lopsided defeats inside the octagon.

Many pundits were wondering if Ferguson would walk away after UFC 262. Well, the former champion had a message on Twitter to the world about his fighting future.

Ferguson’s UFC Future

This fight at UFC 262 was another blow to Tony Ferguson. However, it’s important to keep something in perspective when thinking about this losing streak. His losses have come against three of the top four lightweights in the world according to the rankings.

It’s not like Ferguson has been losing to scrubs. Now, are Tony Ferguson’s days as a top lightweight in the UFC done? Perhaps those days of being a title contender are truly behind El Cucuy.

That said, I don’t believe that Ferguson’s career is over and neither does he. I do believe that he needs a step back and he needs to fight someone lower in the rankings. This week I wrote that the UFC should pair him with someone like Diego Ferreira. 

El Cucuy needs a reset to really see where he’s at in his UFC career. The promotion needs to do him a solid and give him someone more manageable. That said, if he loses his next fight in dominating fashion, it could be the of the road for the former interim champion.

After winning his seventh in a row at UFC 262, what’s next for Beneil Dariush?

This past Saturday at UFC 262, Beneil Dariush (21-4-1) took on Tony Ferguson (25-6) in the co-main event of the evening. Dariush carried in a six-fight win streak and he finally got his shot against a big time opponent in the former interim lightweight champion.

Beneil Dariush has been flying under the radar over the last couple of years. He had a couple of tough losses in the UFC, but he’s really been turning things around and he’s starting to open some eyes in the lightweight division.

With that said, Saturday was going to be a big test. He was fighting a man who is loved by fans and was long considered to be the boogey man of the lightweight division. El Cucuy is no pushover even at this stage of his career.

Heading into UFC 262, I picked Dariush to win the fight. I just thought that if he stuck to his pressure and grappling, he’d be able to beat Tony Ferguson. Well, that’s exactly what Dariush did on Saturday night.

From the opening bell at UFC 262, Dariush was on Tony Ferguson. Ferguson had no room to breathe and he had no answer for Dariush’s grappling. In the end it was a clean sweep on the scorecards and a statement win for Beneil Dariush.

What’s next after UFC 262?

The UFC rankings came out today and Dariush climbed all the way to third. In doing this, he jumped over top lightweight contenders Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler. I can’t say I agree with the rankings, but Dariush has earned some shine.

While Dariush is squarely in the UFC’s top five, he’s not going to be in the conversations for the next title shot. In fact, I don’t even think he’s going to be in the conversation for a title eliminator next.

Dariush said he wanted to take a little time off to enjoy the birth of his daughter in a few weeks. When he’s ready to make his UFC return, there’s one opponent that I think lines up perfectly for him.

I think the promotion should look at booking Dariush with former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13). RDA made his return to lightweight last year and he would provide a big test for Dariush.

Stylistically, I think this would be a great matchup and it would build momentum for the winner. One other potential opponent to keep an eye on is Islam Makhachev (19-1). Makhachev takes on Thiago Moises in July and if he wins, I could see the UFC trying to move him up quickly against a top five guy. Dariush would fit the bill there.

After another loss at UFC 262, what’s next for Tony Ferguson?

Tony Ferguson, UFC

This past Saturday at UFC 262, former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (25-6) was looking to snap his losing streak. After never having a losing streak in his entire career, Ferguson made the walk on Saturday night having lost two straight.

Standing in his way of snapping that losing streak was Beneil Dariush (21-4-1). Dariush was entering UFC 262 on a six-fight winning streak and he was looking to use El Cucuy as a stepping stone towards a top ranked opponent.

Ferguson appeared to have a great training camp for this fight. El Cucuy looked focused and he looked determined to get back in the win column. The big question was around whether or not that prep would translate to octagon performance.

From 2013 to 2019, Ferguson was untouchable in the UFC. He won a staggering 12 fights in a row in the toughest division in the promotion. He climbed to the top and became the interim lightweight champion.

However, he had been dominated in his last two fights. Ferguson was looking to prove he’s still one of the best at UFC 262. Well, unfortunately for El Cucuy, he suffered another dominating defeat.

From the opening bell, this fight was all Beneil Dariush. He even came close to making Ferguson tap by a heel hook in the first round. However, El Cucuy toughed his way through it and fought out the fight. When the scorecards were read at UFC 262, all three rounds went to Beneil Dariush.

What’s next after UFC 262?

Saturday night was a really tough night if you’re a fan of Tony Ferguson. As mentioned, for years, Ferguson was the boogey man of the UFC’s lightweight division. However, he looks like a shell of that guy right now.

Going back to the Justin Gaethje fight, he’s likely only won one round in his last eleven rounds inside the octagon. We just haven’t seen the same El Cucuy since his fight with Donald Cerrone at UFC 238.

Now, Ferguson has lost three in a row. With that, the UFC really needs to have him step back and fight someone either at the tail-end of the top fifteen or out of the rankings completely.

In my opinion, a great opponent for him would be Diego Ferreira (17-4). Ferreira entered 2021 on a long winning streak, but now he’s lost two fights in a row. At 36 years old, there are a lot of questions surrounding Ferreira’s future.

Ferreira is currently ranked 14th in the UFC’s lightweight division. This to me would be a good step back for Tony Ferguson while still giving him an opponent with a number. It’ll be interesting to see what the promotion decides, but this is the direction I would go in.

Beneil Dariush dominates Tony Ferguson at UFC 262

In the co-main event of UFC 262, we saw a big matchup in the lightweight division. Former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (25-5) was taking on the surging top contender Beneil Dariush (20-4-1).

Over the last decade, Tony Ferguson has been one of the best fighters in the UFC not just in the lightweight division. From 2013 to 2019, El Cucuy won a staggering 12 fights in a row in the UFC‘s most stacked weight class.

Ferguson rose all the way to the top capturing the interim lightweight championship. However, the undisputed title always evaded him. Ferguson entered UFC 262 in unfamiliar territory coming off of back-to-back losses for the first time in his career.

Snapping that losing streak wasn’t going to be easy tonight. Beneil Dariush has quietly been rising up the UFC‘s lightweight ranks. Dariush had won six fights in a row coming into tonight.

He also possesses a style that could give El Cucuy some problems inside the octagon. The biggest question mark coming into UFC 262 was which Tony Ferguson we would get. Would we get the old El Cucuy or would we get the Tony Ferguson we saw get dominated by Charles Oliveira?

UFC 262 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 262 co-main event kicks off with a brief touch of the gloves. Ferguson pushes forward and Dariush lands a clean left hook. Dariush pushes forward with big shots including a body kick.

Lots of forward pressure from Dariush and he lands another big left hand. Another huge left for Dariush, but Ferguson is taking them well. More pressure and big shots from Dariush and he chains them into a takedown.

Ferguson starts trying to attack from his back, but the pressure is heavy for Dariush. El Cucuy is trying to work a triangle, but Dariush defends well. Back to the full guard and big shots are landing for Dariush.

Dariush is looking to pass and Ferguson is looking to defend from his back. Ferguson works his way to the fence, but Dariush’s top pressure is so heavy here. Ferguson tries to escape, but Dariush is all over him and the fight stays grounded.

More big shots from the top from Dariush. Ferguson tries to escape a couple of times, but Dariush holds him in place. Dominant first round for Beneil Dariush and he’s up 1-0 at UFC 262.

Round 2

The former interim UFC champion needs to get it going as we enter the second round. Ferguson opens the second with a lot of movement, but Dariush lands some big shots.

Dariush lands a takedown, but he lands in Ferguson’s d’arce choke. Unfortunately for El Cucuy, he doesn’t have the correct position. Dariush is remaining calm here and he pops his head out.

Big shots raining down from Beneil Dariush. Ferguson is trying to counter off his back, but this is all Dariush here. Dariush starts to pass the guard and how he’s in halfguard.

Ferguson uses a sweep to get top position briefly. However, another sweep from Dariush has Ferguson in a compromising position. Dariush locks up a deep heel hook and Ferguson is in deep trouble.

Ferguson is in pain, but he’s not tapping. Dariush let’s it go and it’s amazing that El Cucuy survived. More heavy pressure from Dariush to end the round and it’s 2-0 Dariush here at UFC 262.

Round 3

Entering the final round here at UFC 262 and it’s going to take a miracle from Tony Ferguson. Big body kick for Dariush and Dariush shoots in deep for a takedown. Ferguson defends for a second, but Dariush slams him to the ground.

Four minutes left in the fight and Ferguson is in massive trouble here. Dariush is in north-south and he starts throwing some body shots. Not a lot of action here as Dariush is just holding him in place here.

Halfway through the round and nothing much is happening. The crowd is getting restless here in the final round. Ferguson is trying to use the fence, but he’s not going anywhere. Lots of boos from the crowd with 90 seconds left in the round.

Ferguson tries to escape, but Dariush just rolls with him. Under a minute left and Ferguson is trying, but nothing is really happening. The final round sounds and there’s not going to be a surprise with this result at UFC 262.

Beneil Dariush def. Tony Ferguson by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

UFC 262 Preview: Tony Ferguson – Beneil Dariush

Tony Ferguson, UFC

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC 262, Tony Ferguson (25-5) meets Beneil Dariush (20-4-1) in a pivotal matchup in the lightweight division. El Cucuy is looking to snap a two-fight losing streak while Dariush looks to get closer to the UFC‘s top five.

From 2013 to 2019, Tony Ferguson was perfect inside the octagon. El Cucuy was a perfect 12-0 and even captured the interim UFC lightweight title during his run. Ferguson fought and defeated a who’s who of the lightweight division.

Some of the wins on his resume include Edson Barboza, Rafael Dos Anjos, Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis, and Donald Cerrone. Despite all of these wins and an interim title stint, Ferguson never got his shot at the undisputed UFC lightweight title.

Ferguson was paired with Khabib Nurmagomedov several times, but the fight always fell through. Most recently at UFC 249. Ferguson was supposed to get his shot, but instead, he faced Justin Gaethje for the interim title. Gaethje defeated Ferguson and snapped his winning streak.

At UFC 256, Ferguson was dominated by Charles Oliveira and now El Cucuy finds himself in a difficult spot. Facing his third straight defeat and he has a hungry contender in front of him.

Beneil Dariush comes into UFC 262 having won six fights in a row. His last victory was a split decision over Diego Ferrier back in February. This is the biggest fight of his career and a win of Ferguson would prove that he belongs amongst the lightweight elite.

UFC 262 Prediction

When Tony Ferguson fought Charles Oliveira, he was completely dominated on the ground. At UFC 256, Oliveira took Ferguson down at will and El Cucuy really couldn’t do anything to get up.

That is really concerning when considering this matchup. Dariush fights with a ton of forward pressure and his grappling is very good. If he can ground Ferguson tomorrow night, he might be able to ride out a decision victory.

On the feet, you’d have to give the advantage to Ferguson. Ferguson has been training at Wild Card and he’s really been working on his hands. Dariush has really solid power, but the fluidity of the striking is in favor of El Cucuy.

If you were to ask me who would win this fight a year ago, I would’ve probably laughed. No disrespect to Beneil Dariush, but I considered Ferguson to be the second best lightweight on the planet.

However, I don’t know what were going to get from him at UFC 262. I do know what were getting from Beneil Dariush. We are getting a hungry fighter who has the grappling ability to neutralize Tony Ferguson. If we get classic El Cucuy, I’d pick Ferguson, but the unknown has me leaning towards Dariush.

Prediction: Beneil Dariush by Split Decision

UFC booking Tony Ferguson – Beneil Dariush

Tony Ferguson, UFC

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a big time matchup in the lightweight division. MMA Junkie was the first to report today that the promotion is close to finalizing a matchup between Tony Ferguson (25-5) and Beneil Dariush (20-4-1).

The proposed matchup will take place at UFC 262 on May 15th. For Beneil Dariush, this is the fight that he’s been wanting. Dariush just got into the top ten of the UFC‘s lightweight rankings and he’s been vocal about fighting a big name.

For the last few years, Dariush has been fighting some of the tougher lightweights that are just outside of the top ten. He’s currently on a six-fight win streak that includes wins over Diego Ferreira, Drakkar Klose, and Drew Dober.

Originally, Dariush was supposed to fight Charles Oliveira late in 2020. However, the UFC pivoted and Oliveira ended up fighting and defeating Tony Ferguson. Left without a big name, Dariush took a tough rematch against Diego Ferreira.

Dariush has been incredibly impressive over the last few years. From his grappling to his toughness, he’s proven that he’s not an easy out in the UFC‘s lightweight division. He has title aspirations, and this is a huge fight that can get him closer to his goal.

Can Ferguson bounce back at UFC 262?

For years, Tony Ferguson was considered the boogey man of the UFC’s lightweight division. He won 12 fights in a row on his way to becoming the interim lightweight champion. However, he never earned the distinction of undisputed champion.

Unfortunately for Ferguson, every time he was supposed to fight for the undisputed belt, the fight fell through. Most recently at UFC 249. Ferguson was supposed to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, COVID-19 prevented Khabib from traveling so Ferguson fought Justin Gaethje for the interim title.

Ferguson lost for the first time since 2012. After that, El Cucuy went on to lose to Oliveira at UFC 256. Now, Ferguson appears at a crossroads. If he wins this fight, it gets him right back on track. However, if he loses at UFC 262, we might be nearing the end of his great run inside the octagon.

After dominant win at UFC 259, what’s next for Islam Makhachev?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, Islam Makhachev (19-1) took on Drew Dober (23-10) on the main card. Makhachev has a ton of hype surrounding him and many are considering him to be the next Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The UFC‘s lightweight champion grew up with and is one of the lead training partners of Makhachev. Like Nurmagomedov, Makhachev is a world sambo champion and he possesses a lot of the same skills as the lightweight champion.

This matchup against Drew Dober was going to be a big test for Makhachev. Due to the pandemic, we didn’t see Makhachev inside the octagon in 2020. For that reason, many forgot about how talented he really is.

Drew Dober had been soaring coming into UFC 259. A three-fight win streak where he had won all three fights by knockout. The odds were stacked against him on Saturday, but the thought was that he would provide a tough fight for Makhachev.

Well, on Saturday night, Makhachev mauled Drew Dober. The fight wasn’t competitive at all. Like we’ve seen so many times with Khabib, Makhachev controlled Dober for the entire fight before submitting him in the third round. A dominant return to the UFC for Makhachev.

What’s next after UFC 259?

After that dominant win, Makhachev jumped up in the rankings to eleventh. After this fight, he needs to fight someone that’s in the UFC’s top ten. There are a few options that I like and one I think is a very real possibility.

One option for Makhachev would be Kevin Lee (18-6). Lee is gearing up for his return to the octagon after an injury layoff and he’s currently ranked 13th. He’s been vocal about his desire to fight and test Islam Makhachev.

Another option could be Beneil Dariush (20-4-1). Dariush is now inside the top ten and he’s won six fights in a row. However, Dariush has been very vocal about his desire to move up the rankings and not take on someone lower than him.

Then there’s the matchup that Makhachev and the world wants to see. That would be the matchup with the former UFC interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson (25-5). Ferguson has history with Makhachev’s camp due to the amount of times he was supposed to fight Khabib.

Khabib and Ferguson were scheduled to fight five times and all five times the fight fell through. Makhachev is looked at as Khabib 2.0 and he wants to be the one to retire Ferguson. Ferguson has lost two in a row so from a rankings perspective, this matchup does make sense for the UFC.

Beneil Dariush wants to clean out the UFC’s lightweight division

One of the best lightweights in the UFC who is still flying under the radar is Beneil Dariush (20-4-1). Dariush has been with the promotion for over seven years and he’s currently on the best stretch of his career.

He fought just a couple of weeks ago at UFC Vegas 18. That night, Dariush won a decision over Diego Ferreira. This was actually the second time that the two men had fought and Dariush won both matchups.

After the win, Dariush has now won six fights in a row in the lightweight division. The win also vaulted Dariush into the UFC‘s top ten at number nine. After the fight was over, Dariush expressed a little frustration with his lack of top opponents.

With his current winning streak, Dariush wants to fight someone that will put him into title contention. Well, now that he’s in the top ten with that winning streak, I believe the UFC is going to give him someone significant next.

Dariush’s UFC title aspirations

Dariush had an interview with ESPN this week where he talked about his plans for the lightweight division. He made it no secret that he plans on winning the UFC lightweight title and defending it a few times.

“I just need to get that belt. I’m going to defend it and I’m going to clear this division out quickly. We won’t have this mess anymore,” Dariush said of the lightweight division. Of course, the mess he’s referring to is the lack of clarity at 155 pounds.

The UFC’s lightweight division is in limbo at the moment. Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) is still the champion, but he’s said he’s retired. However, Dana White will not strip him out of the hope that he will eventually return.

Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor appear to be heading towards their trilogy matchup. All other top contenders are lining up, however, there’s no clarity on who will be fighting for the UFC lightweight title at any point this year.

Dariush is hoping that his run to the top clears up the mess. He wants to get the title and takedown all challengers so we don’t end up in this position again. Lofty goals, but Dariush is on a roll and he does have a style that can create problems.