UFC lightweight Beneil Dariush has assessed what fellow contender Justin Gaethje did wrong against Charles Oliveira at UFC 274.
At the May 7 pay-per-view, Gaethje filled one slot in the main event, targeting undisputed championship glory at the second time of trying. But like at UFC 254 against Khabib Nurmagomedov, “The Highlight” found himself unconscious courtesy of a submission.
With the defeat, Gaethje became the latest addition to the incredible resurgence story of Oliveira. Like against Michael Chandler last May and versus Dustin Poirier seven months later, “Do Bronx” managed to overcome early knockdowns to secure the victory last month.
While he’s no longer the champion having missed weight prior to UFC 274, the Brazilian is still widely regarded as the occupier of the throne at 155 pounds.
While Oliveira looks ahead to the vacant title fight that is likely to go down later this year, Gaethje has been left wondering what went wrong and where he goes from here. During an interview with ESPN MMA, Beneil Dariush went someway to answering one of those questions.
Dariush, who predicted that Gaethje would leave Arizona with the gold, said that the Safford native wasn’t a smart as he needed to be, and instead became overzealous after a pair of early knockdowns.
“I picked Gaethje to win, but I said if Gaethje’s smart. I said, ‘If Gaethje hits him and then moves, he’ll be fine.’ And he did that a little bit, and he got two knockdowns. But he got overzealous,” suggested Dariush.
“And man, you gotta understand, Justin really is a dog. When he sees blood, he sees blood. But the thing with Charles is, he’ll go to his back, not because he’s super hurt, but it’s a comfort zone for him,” added Dariush. “Justin couldn’t differentiate between Charles being hurt and Charles just being cautious.”
Dariush: Gaethje’s Hesitance To Follow Oliveira Down Was A Mistake
Oliveira is thought by many to be the UFC’s most talented Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, and holds the promotional record for the most submissions (16). With that in mind, Gaethje chose to remain on the feet following the knockdowns, a strategy that many have questioned in the weeks since.
Dariush, the current #6-ranked lightweight contender, shared that sentiment during his conversation with Brett Okamoto, suggesting that “The Highlight” should have looked to finish the job, rather than allowing “Do Bronx” to recover.
“I think it’s a mistake. I mean, if you’re an MMA fighter and you just knock somebody down, go! I remember rewatching my fight with Diego Ferreira, and I remember Daniel Cormier saying it was a mistake for me to chase him down because he was able to recover after I dropped him… Bro, this is MMA? I’m not trying to tell you I’m the best at striking, I’m trying to let you know that I’m the best at hurting you. That’s my job, on the ground or standing.”
Do you agree with Beneil Dariush’s assessment of Justin Gaethje’s mistakes at UFC 274?
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