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Beneil Dariush has once again started down a pathway to the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight elite, but this time, it runs through the division’s self-professed boogeyman.
The Kings MMA export will lock horns with Tony Ferguson in the UFC 262 co-headliner on Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston. Dariush steps into the Octagon on the strength of a six-fight winning streak that includes four finishes. He last competed at UFC Fight Night 184 on Feb. 6, when he eked out a split decision over Carlos Diego Ferreira. Ferguson, meanwhile, finds himself on the rebound following back-to-back losses. He last appeared at UFC 256, where he dropped a unanimous verdict to Charles Oliveira on Dec. 12.
As Dariush and Ferguson make final preparations ahead of their pivotal battle at 155 pounds, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
37: Years of age for Ferguson, who was born in Oxnard, California, on Feb. 12, 1984. Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon,” Van Halen’s “Jump,” Kool & The Gang’s “Joanna,” Nena’s “99 Luftballoons” and The Romantics’ “Talking in Your Sleep” were the Top 5 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 list at the time.
12: Ferguson wins by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for 48% of his career total (25). His list of victims includes Anthony Pettis, Katsunori Kikuno, Aaron Riley and Ramsey Nijem. Ferguson owns eight other wins by submission and five more by decision.
1,070: Significant strikes landed by Ferguson as a UFC lightweight, placing him fourth on the organization’s all-time list at 155 pounds. Only Evan Dunham (1,225), John Makdessi (1,137) and Donald Cerrone (1,127) have connected with more.
102: Combined victories between the five men—Oliveira, Gaethje, Michael Johnson, Jamie Toney and Karen Darabedyan—who have defeated Ferguson. They own a cumulative winning percentage of .713 (102-41).
9: First-round finishes on the Ferguson resume. His 68-second technical knockout of Devin Benjamin at a National Fight Alliance MMA event on May 28, 2009 remains his fastest stoppage win to date.
32: Years of age for Dariush, who was born on May 6, 1989 in Gol Tappeh, Iran—a small city of less than 2,500 people in the northwest quadrant of the country.
8: Submission victories on the Dariush ledger, accounting for 40% of his career total (20). His methods of choice: five rear-naked chokes, two armbars and one arm-triangle choke. Dariush owns five other victories by knockout or technical knockout and seven more by decision.
36: Seconds needed for Dariush to submit Trace Gray with an armbar under the Respect in the Cage banner on Jan. 19, 2013. Having occurred in his fifth professional appearance, it remains the fastest finish of his career.
4: Post-fight bonuses banked by Dariush across his 19 assignments in the UFC. He has been awarded “Performance of the Night” three times and “Fight of the Night” once, resulting in $200,000 of additional income.
1,169: Days since Dariush last tasted defeat. He has turned away six straight opponents since being victimized by Alexander Hernandez in a 42-second knockout at UFC 222 on March 3, 2018.