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UFC 216: Beneil Dariush inspired by fellow Assyrians

By in Press Enterprise on October 5, 2017

By Brian Martin

As the sun tries to force its way through the panes at Kings MMA in Huntington Beach, Rafael Cordeiro is a loud blur.

Wearing the figurative hat of owner, mentor, drill sergeant and traffic cop, Cordeiro is always talking, always coaching.

“TWENTY SECONDS!” the legendary trainer bellows.

With one eye on the clock, Cordeiro is teaching the finer points of executing a takedown on this late September morning, mixing instruction with encouragement before straightening his posture.

“TEN SECONDS!” he yells above the grunts and sounds of flesh hitting mats.

Off to the side, Beneil Dariush focuses on his technique, honed to near-perfection for the past 10 years after discovering Brazilian jiu-jitsu at 18 — absurdly late for someone of his tremendous skill.

“SWITCH!” Cordeiro shouts to the dozens strewn about the room, the black padded walls on the north side of the gym streaked in sweat.

The students, as Cordeiro refers to them even though they range from beginners to former UFC champions, alternate from offense to defense.

Dariush moves like someone attempting to conserve energy, slowly yet efficiently. Cordeiro sees the clock reset.

“READY! GO!”

Dariush has been here tens of thousands of times before, drilling seemingly on instinct.

Every execution, however, has a distinct purpose.

And every day, there is pressure.

Even greater than the pressure to win is to deliver for his heritage, to represent a group that views him as a national hero, to repay the people — his people — that he feels are responsible for his UFC career.

HE’S NOT SLEEPWALKING

As ring announcer and master of ceremonies, Bruce Buffer stands in the center of the Octagon, introducing a UFC fighter about to literally risk life and limb.

Mere minutes before fighting Evan Dunham at UFC 216 on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and for the 12th time in his career, Dariush will stand less than 15 […]    

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