Beneil Dariush has been left baffled by featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski’s claim that he’s the back-up fighter for UFC 280’s main event lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev as he had been told that he was the stand-in for that match-up.
According to the 6th ranked Dariush, his UFC 280 main card fight with Mateusz Gamrot had been added to the line-up so that he could serve as the stand-in fighter if either Oliveira or Makhachev withdrew.
“Honestly, I’m confused,” Dariush said on Sirius XM. “I’m not sure if he’s playing games or the UFC is playing games, because I was told I’m the fill-in.
“That’s the whole point of having another lightweight fight on that card, just in case something goes wrong. I don’t understand what’s going on here. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it, but ultimately I have one goal and that’s Gamrot. I really thought I was the fill in. That’s what I was told.
“My manager said they were putting me on the card [on the] same day because if not, why come all the way to Abu Dhabi, you know? Him and I could headline a card and then we can fight somewhere else. But the reason why they brought us here [is] just in case something goes wrong, I would jump in and fill in for the main event.”
Volkanovski has since responded and confirmed that he wasn’t lying and is indeed the official back-up fighter for the main event.
“If he’s watching, I’m not playing any games,” Volkanovski said on The MMA Hour show. “Maybe they did tell you you could be very early, whether this was a couple of months ago, whether his manager had that conversation saying that you will be, and he just assumed he was and hasn’t looked into it since, I don’t know. But my corners are being flown up. I’m getting paid for this, all that type of stuff. It’s locked in. I’m not playing any games.”