Coach Rafael Cordeiro: Beneil Dariush took time off after repeated head trauma in 2023

Beneil Dariush resumed sparring in March after taking some significant time off from hard sessions in the gym, Kings MMA coach Rafael Cordeiro recently revealed on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast.

Dariush had an eight-fight winning streak snapped by Charles Oliveira and Arman Tsarukyan in 2023, both via stoppage due to strikes — after which, Cordeiro asked the 34-year-old lightweight to take some time off. It wasn’t the only time Dariush suffered head trauma in 2023.

“Benny had a very rough year last year,” Cordeiro said. “He had two knockouts and three knockdowns. He was knocked down twice and knocked out once in the gym, and then fought Charles and was TKO’d. He fought Arman next and was knocked out. He had five situations during the year where his head was hurt. He’s a young kid, and it was a request I made for him to take some time.”

Prior to his rough stretch, Dariush only lost four of his previous 27 MMA bouts dating back to 2009, all by stoppage. Michael Chiesa tapped him with a rear-naked choke, while Ramsey Nijem, Edson Barboza, and Alexander Hernandez won by knockout or TKO.

Cordeiro said Dariush is financially set and doesn’t need to rush back into the octagon, but will be prepared when time comes. The founder and leader of Kings MMA said Dariush is sparring again in California and feeling great.

“I don’t worry as a coach, I worry as a father. I have him as my kid and I don’t need to put him to real test for nothing right now,” Cordeiro said. “Benny won eight and lost two of his last 10 fights and some people want him to retire. That’s absurd. It’s disrespectful with his story, but since we can’t listen to noise or things we can’t control, we’ll focus on his health.”

“Let’s see the fights that make sense for him for the moment he’s physically recovered,” he continued. “I’m not talking about confidence. He has confidence. It’s more of a neurological thing. I want him to worry about it for a moment because he was hit a lot.”

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