This Saturday, the UFC returns to the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, for the seventh time, with the last event featuring there was UFC 247. We have an interesting and unpredictable event this weekend in UFC 262, with the vacant lightweight title fight up for grabs between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler, who headline the event.
We get to see a stunning fight between two promotion veterans in the co-main event in Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush. The rest of the card also brings plenty of excitement with featherweights Shane Burgos and Edson Barboza scrapping it out. Jacare Souza competes on the prelims against Andre Muniz, in what could potentially be the last time we see Souza fighting in the promotion or even MMA.
After many years of competing in the promotion, it’s finally time to see Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush, two fantastic wrestlers and wonderful all-round mixed martial artists.
Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush: Meet the Lightweights
Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson (25-5, 15-3 UFC)
Tony looks to bounce back from the worst spell of his career after losing his last two fights. Ferguson was dominated in a three-round bout against Oliveira at UFC 256. All three judges scored the contest 30-26 in Oliveira’s favor. It was at UFC 249 that Ferguson tasted defeat for the first time in eight years when he was TKO’d to Justin Gaethje in the fifth round after taking some heavy shots for over 20 minutes in the main event for the interim lightweight title.
The name “Ferguson” was taken from his step-father, with his biological dad being out of the picture early on. From a young age, competitiveness was driven into Ferguson’s life with his step-father being a competitor, he enrolled Ferguson into wrestling at the age of six.
Ferguson is and always has been an athlete. We see his determination to compete in his fights and he’s been like that all of his life. Growing up, he’s played Baseball and even American Football starting defensive back for the 2000 Division 8 state football champions Muskegon Catholic Central.
“El Cucuy” is known for his unique training techniques, which you see can via his Instagram page. These workouts include smacking his arms and legs against metal poles to build his bone strength, swinging a hammer while balanced on a gym ball, and somersault jumps over stacks of gym mats. Unique to say the least.
Like any fighter, Ferguson worked his way towards the UFC fighting in the smaller promotions. After 12 fights, losing two of those early on in his career, he was invited on the 13th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Ferguson was a dangerous force throughout the tournament knocking all three opponents out on his way to the final. He faced Ramsey Nijem in the finale, where he forced the same outcome knocking out Nijem and winning the tournament which earned him a UFC contract.
After his victory, we saw a new side to Ferguson, not the quiet and reserved character we seen throughout The Ultimate Fighter. The new Tony Ferguson was a loud, lively and fascinating individual. Two more victories down the line and he faced an exciting prospect at the time in the lightweight division and that was Michael Johnson. A dominating performance from Johnson seen “El Cucuy” face defeat for the first time in the UFC.
Ferguson worked his way back up the division putting in stunning performances left, right, and centre to try and achieve his goal of winning the title. After beating the likes of Barboza, Rafael Dos Anjos, and countless names of quality fighters, Ferguson fought Kevin Lee for the UFC Interim Lightweight Championship. A beautiful triangle choke in the third round saw him win the belt, but as all fighters do, they want the official belt.
In the fourth time of asking, he was supposed to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the official title at UFC 223. Due to a torn ligament, Ferguson pulled out for a second time with an injury, Nurmagomedov went on to beat Al Iaquinta for the title. Two more wins over Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone saw the Ferguson vs Nurmagomedov matchup set up for the fifth time! None of the fighters prevented it this time, only the global pandemic stopped it from happening. It was clear this fight was never meant to be.
So, unfortunately, we will never get an answer on who would win out of Ferguson and Khabib, with the dream fight being officially dead with Nurmagomedov retired. After losses to Gaethje and Oliveira, Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush is a stunning matchup to make, with Ferguson needing to bounce back and Dariush on the rise.
Beneil “Benny Dariush (20-4-1, 14-4-1 UFC)
Beneil is an Assyrian-American fighter, who has worked incredibly hard to become the fighter he is today. At the age of nine, Dariush and his family moved to America from Iran, so they could live a better life. Challenges came upon Dariush growing up, with having to learn a new language and also learning mixed martial arts, despite the outrage of his mother.
He was close to his mother growing up and when he decided he wanted to compete in MMA, his mother was beyond happy to the point she almost stopped speaking to him. His sister Beraeil Dariush talked to his mother and made her have a change of heart, with her understanding and now supporting her son.
Dariush grew up with his sister and over 20 cousins. He would help his father and uncle with agriculture, alongside his education. This has given him the big build he has today. The honorable Dariush has been involved in a bunch of charity work, donating an extremely generous amount to the 2010 Haiti earthquake survivors. He still provides money to help the Assyrian people in the Middle East.
He began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2007, where he earned his black belt in under five years. Between 2008-10 he became a World No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Champion in a blue, purple, and brown belt. Before Dariush was signed for the UFC, he was a force to be reckoned with. He was undefeated in his first six fights, winning the Respect in the Cage Lightweight Championship in his fifth bout, where he submitted Trace Gray with an armbar after 36 seconds. He defended the belt once, knocking out Jason Meaders before joining the UFC in 2014.
It only took 1 minute and 45 seconds into his promotional debut for Dariush to find his first win in the UFC. He submitted Charlie Brenneman with a rear-naked choke. He struggled to repeat his impressive debut when he lost three months later to Nijem after being knocked out in the first round.
Dariush went on a five-fight win-streak after the first defeat of his career. He outclassed legends in the sport such as Jim Miller and Michael Johnson. His next downfall was at the hands of Michael Chiesa, who was the first person to submit Dariush in his professional career.
it was a torrid time for Dariush between March 2017 and 2018 as he lost two fights and drawn one. Eight months after being knocked out to Alexander Hernandez, Dariush looked like a completely different fighter when he dominated Thiago Moises over three rounds.
This seemed to spark Dariush into life and he was starting to look unstoppable. In his next three bouts, he earned himself three 50k bonuses with a performance of the night over Drew Dober, Frank Camacho, and Drakkar Klose.
Dariush competed in stunning Fight of the Night against Carlos Diego Ferreira at UFC Vegas 18, with the pair competing in a re-match after Dariush was victorious in 2014. A back and forth three rounds saw Dariush come out as winner again on a split decision, which has set up Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush for UFC 262.
Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush Breakdown and Prediction
Ladies and gentlemen, we could have a Fight of the Night in store for you right here in Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush. It’s safe to say these two are going to go to absolute war, and I’m sure everyone like myself, has pretty much no clue how this will pan out because it’s unpredictable. Are we going to see the former Ferguson we all love to watch? And which Dariush will be turning up on Saturday? Hopefully, we see them both at the top of their game and it will certainly be an incredible viewing.
Let’s start with Ferguson, in his last two fights, he’s been dominated on the ground against Oliveira and dominated on the feet against Gaethje. We’ve never seen this before, Ferguson dominated two fights in a row, it was unheard of. This time around, it doesn’t seem as unlikely.
Realistically, we don’t know how Ferguson will approach Dariush. He’s coming up against an extremely talented wrestler. It could be more the case of starting with the stand-up and aim for a takedown at the right point. Ferguson does not want to make any mistakes going straight to the ground and not testing the waters on the feet first.
For Dariush, we’ve seen him dominate fighters on the ground and knock them out on the feet, these two are so similar and so unpredictable. Like Ferguson, Dariush should start to see how he’s feeling on the feet and if it doesn’t go well, head down the wrestling route and challenge Ferguson that way.
Ferguson has received 11 bonuses in the almost ten years he’s been in the UFC, whilst Dariush has 5 bonuses in his seven years. This isn’t me promising you this is going to be spectacular, but it has all the characteristics to be a classic. In this one, I see Dariush scraping it, taking Ferguson down in the last round, and riding himself to victory on a unanimous decision!
Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush Prediction: Beneil Dariush Unanimous Decision.
Let us know your predictions on Tony Ferguson vs Beneil Dariush in the comments below!
Follow me on Twitter @JakeBroderick98 for more combat sports news and discussions. Also, make sure to follow @OT_Heroics for all of your sporting needs. Don’t forget OTHeroicsMMA for all things MMA.
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images and Embed from Getty Images