Beneil Dariush contemplates fighting future after UFC Austin: ‘Do I go forward, or am I done kind of deal?’

UFC lightweight standout Beneil Dariush finds himself in a quandary after back-to-back losses.

Dariush (22-6-1 MMA, 16-6-1 UFC) suffered a first-round knockout to Arman Tsarukyan in the UFC on ESPN 52 headliner less than two weeks ago for his second consecutive stoppage loss. Prior to the skid, Dariush was on the cusp of a title shot after amassing an eight-fight winning streak.

Although his losses have come to top-tier competition in Tsarukyan and former champion Charles Oliveira, Dariush is in the midst of a mental battle as he tried to figure out what’s next and if he can still compete with the best.

“I’ve got to be honest with you guys: Last time I was here, it was maybe 2017 or 2018, I was in back-to-back losses,” Dariush told Submission Radio. “And my goal in this game is to be the best that I can be. And I just remember spending a lot of time in prayer and trying to figure out if I was done back then. And I’m kind of in the same spot right now. I’m just trying to figure out like, do I go forward or am I done kind of deal? Because I’m not trying to be like a 50-50 fighter or even a top-10 fighter. I’m trying to be No. 1 in the world. I want to be the best, and I’m not going to settle for anything less than that.

“So, yeah, I guess just that’s how I deal with it. I go back to prayer and see what the Lord kind of shows me. Last time, I had a lot of issues physically with my neck and just, I said I would solve those issues and then go back into the octagon and see how that goes. And I did that. I had a big change in my performance. I went from being 0-3 to like 8-0. And so, the neck made a big difference. But this time I don’t have any health issues. My neck is pretty good overall. I don’t have any issues with it. So, it’s a different spot I’m in than I was back then.”

Dariush tossed names like Dan Hooker and Benoit Saint-Denis as potential next opponents, which he considers to be matchups that excite him.

“I just want to know if I still got it,” Dariush said. “That’s like my biggest thing. Because it’s one thing to go into the training room and perform really well, and it’s another thing to go into that octagon and perform really well. And if I don’t have it, I need to know so that way I can find a way to put my energy into something else and move forward, because there’s no point if I can’t be the best.”

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie