The Team Player: Beneil Dariush prepares for Octagon debut


Beneil Dariush may not be a name familiar to many, but he certainly keeps some impressive company. Ahead of his UFC debut in just nine days time the BJJ black belt, who trains under Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA, is quick to cite the coaching legend as a big inspiration in his career.

The Team Player: Beneil Dariush prepares for Octagon debut

Speaking to Dariush calls Cordeiro, “an inspiration. I’ve never seen coaching like his – we never do the same class twice, there’s always something new. We’re always improving, and I think that’s really key to the development of a lot of guys there.”

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It’s certainly an impressive list of talent that Cordeiro presides over. Dariush in particular picks out the likes of Jake Ellenberger, Rafael Dos Anjos and Fabricio Werdum as having a big impact on the career of the young fighter.

I try to improve every aspect to make it as good as it can be. But from Rafael Dos Anjos I’m learning that it’s his tenacity and his hard work that is really separating him right now from everyone else, and Fabricio Werdum is a great guy to have around, always watching and he’s a great training partner.

There’s a lot of good energy in the team.

Dariush is a fighter that many will instantly right off as one dimensional, but that would be a disservice to the man. Undeniably a BJJ specialist, Dariush retired from jiu jitsu aged just 23 after gaining his black belt less than six years after achieving world championship wins at blue, purple and brown belt levels. However, Dariush earned a knockout victory in his last fight in May 2013, and his striking led to a doctor’s stoppage against Brazilian boxing champion Gilberto dos Santos in 2012.

Dariush is fine with being underestimated though.

We spend a lot of time on striking… I felt perfectly fine standing [against Gilberto], most of the fight was standing. People just don’t know that, and I plan on showing it as my future in the UFC unfolds.

With his opponent changed from Jason High to Charlie Brenneman at even shorter notice, Dariush is unfazed.

As far as game-plans go we were always going to focus on what I do, because I took the fight on short notice and it’s hard to focus on what your opponent is going to do with a short notice fight. We just want to make sure everything I’m doing right now is crisp and focus on what we can do to finish the fight. That’s what I really want to do – I want to finish fights.

The fight is going to start standing, so I’m going to be looking for a knockout. If it goes to the ground, I think I can get a submission.

Dariush is also unfazed by having his fight bumped from the main card all the way down to the online prelims – prelims which, for the first time, will be exclusive to UFC Fight Pass subscribers. This means that Dariush goes from fighting in front of a potential TV audience of 600-700k to however many people in the four countries it’s available have signed up for the new online service.

Is he disappointed?

To be disappointed would be to think the UFC owes me something, which they don’t.

Dariush said,

The fact that I have a shot is awesome, so I don’t even think about it. The fact that I was on the main card wasn’t because of my skillset it was because of what Jason High had done. He had won two fights in a row and they had put him on the main card. I’m new here, so I’m going to work my way up from the bottom to the top.

When asked about his plans for the future and the coming year should things go his way, Dariush thinks only of others.

As far as fighting somebody next I don’t have anybody specific. What I would really like to do is get back into the gym and help my teammates. Rafael has a fight coming up, Jake [Ellenberger] should be getting a fight soon, Fabricio is going to be fighting Travis Browne – I want to be able to get back into the gym and help them as much as I can.

Beneil Dariush fights Charlie Brenneman on the online prelims of UFC Fight Night: Rockhold .vs. Philippou on January 15th.

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