Dariush (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) saw his eight-fight winning streak snapped this past June when he was stopped by former champion Oliveira in the first round at UFC 289. Although Dariush was able to take down Oliveira (34-9 MMA, 22-9 UFC) early, he was rather critical of his performance.
“Just I didn’t show up that night,” Dariush told MMA Junkie. “No matter how I look at it, I just didn’t show up that night. That’s the best way I could put it unfortunately. I wish I did. I wish I put on a better performance and I was more myself, but I just didn’t look good. I can’t think of anything I did well.”
Dariush is no stranger to bouncing back strong. Prior to stringing together eight wins, the 34-year-old was winless in three consecutive fights.
“All my losses sting,” Dariush said. “Honestly I never get over my losses. That’s also one of the reasons why I’ve got to where I got to. I never get over my losses. I just continue to dig and get better. As far as which one stings the most, obviously the Charles fight is the most recent, but I can still remember all my losses, and I want them all back.
“It’s a really weird thing how obsessive I could be over losses to a point where, if I overthink it, it could crush me. But fortunately for me, being a devout Christian, I don’t put my identity in fighting, and that really helps me just step away from it.”
Dariush meets Arman Tsarukyan (20-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) in the UFC on ESPN 52 headliner Dec. 2 at Moody Center in Austin, Texas. He expects Tsarukyan to try and mix things up, and he’s ready for it.
“I think he’s going to be looking to go low and go high. By low I mean takedowns, and by high I mean striking,” Dariush said. “But that’s what I prepare for every day. I prepare to fight guys that can do it all. I don’t know if he does anything that would surprise me.
“Once I get in there, I’ll have a better idea. I will say I need to get a better idea of his strength. That’s something that could be out of my expectations. When I went with Gamrot, he was strong, but I didn’t feel, ‘Oh man, this guy is overwhelming me.’ Let’s see if Tsarukyan is going to be the same thing.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 52.