After resting his body and brain, UFC’s Beneil Dariush targets end of summer return

Beneil Dariush just started easing his way back into contact training, and he’s ready to book a fight.

In 2023, Dariush (22-6-1 MMA, 16-6-1 UFC) suffered back-to-back first-round knockout losses to Charles Oliveira in June, then Arman Tsarukyan in December. The setbacks forced Dariush to take some time off to let his brain heal, which he took seriously by only undergoing light training in the past few months.

“The whole goal was to be patient and to rest my body and most importantly my brain,” Dariush told MMA Junkie Radio. “Everybody around me was telling me to rest. So, I said I wouldn’t do anything too crazy.

“Just grappling and hitting mitts for six months and then I would slowly start to put on the small gloves and do small-glove sparring, really focused on grappling still. That started in May, as in now. I had one session so far, I think, and it was really fun. I missed it quite a bit.”

Dariush is always eager to compete, so having to listen to his body wasn’t easy. Ideally he’d like to return in summer when he’ll be receiving the 2024 Forrest Griffin Community Award at the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony as part of International Fight Week.

“The issue with me is I’m going to have to kill the competitor inside of me one day,” Dariush said. “My desire is always to fight. That’s actually the problem. It gets in my way sometimes, but also it’s brought me where I am. I can’t complain about it too much. That being said, obviously I want to fight, but I’m also a person who believes that God has his plans, and they’re better plans.

“If his plan is I’m done, I’m done, but currently I don’t think that’s the situation. I think I’ll be back soon. If it was up to me, it would have been yesterday. But obviously I’m trying to be patient, listening to my coaches, my wife, my family, and hopefully either end of summer or early winter or something. I definitely want to get a fight in before the year ends is what I’m trying to say.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie