Dubai: It takes a good fighter to know one and Iranian-American Brazilian Jui Jitsu world champion Benizl Dariush believes that Justin Gaethje has the skill sets to defeat Tony Ferguson in the opening round of next month’s interim lightweight title fight at UFC 249 in Florida.
Dariush, who is unbeaten in his last four fights in the same lightweight division, participated in a strategic, short-stint training camp with Gaethje to help him prepare for the biggest fight of his career on May 9.
The Iranian-born fighter, who was responding to a call from Gaethje to train with him, was also joined by UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
Dariush said he adopted Ferguson’s fighting style to test how Gaethje would respond to the techniques he will encounter from Ferguson, the world’s No 1 ranked fighter.
“I was trying to mimic him – I was trying to be similar to Tony,” Dariush told ‘MMA Junkie.’
“Obviously we (have) somewhat same body type. We have somewhat of the same skill set. I have good jiu-jitsu. I can throw punches in bunches if necessary. I can switch stances. So I was doing all of that, and I was trying to keep a high pace,” he added.
“But in terms of pace, I think Usman was the guy who really put the pace on.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘What the heck – Justin is a machine, man.’ And I made sure to get into the positions that are most uncomfortable for him,” Dariush said.
“I made sure to go out there and do everything awkward and do everything with a surprise, and Justin just kind of walked through everything, including training with Kamaru. I was really impressed.”
In an earlier interview with the editor of ‘FanSided,’ one of the fastest growing networks of fandom-focused sport, entertainment and lifestyle sites on the Internet, Dariush tipped Gaethje to win.
“I’m thinking [a] first-round stoppage from Justin,” Dariush told Amy Kaplan. “Just sparring with him, I think it was yesterday or the day before…man, he hits hard.
“He hits hard and he can keep hitting you. I know he hasn’t had a full camp, but he’s not the kind of guy that gets tired. So, I think this is a really bad matchup for Tony.”
However, most British odds makers have Ferguson as the 4/7 on-money favourite and offer Gaethje to win at 6/4.
“The Ferguson vs. Gaethje fight is one of the most violent fights you will see,” Dana White told ESPN on Instagram Live.
The 12-fight UFC 249 card will be held behind closed doors and in adherence to safety rules and regulations layed down by the Floriday State government due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UFC has not held an event since March 14 in Brasilia, Brazil.