Beneil Dariush, also known as Benny, has earned his spot in the UFC.
At the beginning of this year, Benny announced he would retire from the gi. Having received his black belt six months prior, he felt it was time to focus on what would help him support his family instead of remaining in the Jiu-Jitsu competition scene.
He was promoted to black belt in 2012 by his long-time professor Bruno “Mamute” Paulista of GMA Ralph Gracie OC but also in attendance was Romulo Barral who shared the promoting duties. His relationship with Romulo and the knowledge he’s learned from him can be described as: “Romulo has been kicking my ass since I was a blue belt but I moved and trained at his gym in 2011 for 6 months. Those 6 months changed my life.”
Benny’s Jiu-Jitsu accomplishments extend from blue belt and on gathering medals from Pan Ams, Worlds and more. But MMA requires more than a ground game. After winning his first MMA fight in which he experienced his introduction to stand-up, it was only then that he sought out the help of a stand-up coach. That coach was Master Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA who also coaches UFC’s Anderson Silva, Fabricio Werdum, Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and others. In just three years Benny has earned a black/dark blue belt, one step away from black belt in the Muay Thai ranking system.
Also in 2010 Benny took up wrestling and chose Churchboyz with Jacob Harman to perfect his takedowns. The same coach helped three of the champions of ADCC win their gold in Beijing this year. He wrestles three times a week with those champions.
The professional record for Benny as he enters the biggest MMA organization in the world is 6-0-0. One was a split decision but five of his wins have been stopped early with two submissions, one KO and one TKO. Three of his fights have ended in the first round.
The call from the UFC came through his manager, who he shares with Frankie Edgar, to replace an injured Adlan Amagov and fight Jason High in the UFC Fight Night 35: Rockhold vs. Philippou on Jan. 15, 2014. He jumped at the chance.
A family man, Benny’s priorities aim towards helping out his family. This opportunity is his biggest yet as he focuses on winning the fight because this is his dream but also for the financial rewards and representing his Assyrian roots.
The 24-year-old, began Jiu-Jitsu in 2007 and says, “before Jiu-Jitsu I had no clue what competition was. I became a man from the Jiu-Jitsu circuit.” What he learned from competing on the mats in tournaments has carried over into the cage. Along with his three years of training on the feet, Benny has finally made it onto the main stage to put it all together where it counts.
Today he responds to this new chapter with confidence: “I don’t believe in talent, only hard work.”
Watch the UFC Fight Night 35: Rockhold vs. Philippou on Jan. 15, 2014 on Fox Sports 1.