Dana White still would love to see Islam Makhachev vs. Beneil Dariush after UFC 274 but won’t commit

Dana White still would love to see Islam Makhachev vs. Beneil Dariush after UFC 274 but won’t commit

USA News

PHOENIX – The aftermath of UFC 274 might’ve slightly changed Dana White’s mind on Islam Makhachev vs. Beneil Dariush.

Charles Oliveira submitted Justin Gaethje in Saturday’s main event at Footprint Center in Phoenix but did not walk away with his lightweight title due to missing championship weight by 0.5 pounds. So the 155-pound title is currently vacant, and Oliveira will be competing for it in his next fight.

As for who Oliveira will face next, White said it should be the winner of Makhachev (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) vs. Dariush (21-4-1 MMA, 15-4-1 UFC) – a fight he thinks makes sense despite the likes of Joe Rogan disagreeing.

“I do (still want to make Makhachev vs. Dariush), but Joe Rogan just grabbed me in the hallway and told me not to,” White said during the UFC 274 post-fight news conference.

Makhachev’s training partner, former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov also urged White to give his protege the title shot. Makhachev has won his past 10 fights overall and called for the title fight against Oliveira at UFC 281 in Abu Dhabi.

White reiterated that Makhachev vs. Dariush is the fight to make but admitted the allure to a matchup between Makhachev and Oliveira.

“Who doesn’t think Dariush and Islam is a great fight? It’s a f*cking killer fight,” White said. “I would love to see that fight to see who the No. 1 contender is, but I’m not gonna lie, after tonight I wouldn’t mind doing Islam vs. Oliveira, either. We’ll see what happens.”

Makhachev was scheduled to meet Dariush at UFC Fight Night 202 in February but faced Bobby Green instead when Dariush withdrew due to an ankle injury. Makhachev quickly finished Green in Round 1.

White then accused Makhachev of turning down a short-notice bout against Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 272 in March, which he initially offered to take. Though Makhachev’s side of the story was a little unclear, he shrugged off White’s claim and despite a surprising turn of events, which resulted in a vacant lightweight title on Saturday, it appears Makhachev might still need to notch one more win before competing for gold.

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