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After resting his body and brain, UFC's Beneil Dariush plans to return at the end of the summer

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Beneil Dariush has just started to ease back into contact training and he's ready to put up a fight.

In 2023, Dariush (22-6-1 MMA, 16-6-1 UFC) suffered back-to-back first-round knockout losses to Charles Oliveira in June and Arman Tsarukyan in December. The setbacks forced Dariush to take time off to let his brain heal, which he took seriously by only doing light training over the past few months.

“The whole goal was to be patient and give my body and especially my brain rest,” Dariush told MMA Junkie Radio. “Everyone around me told me to rest. So I said I wouldn't do anything too crazy.

“Six months of just grappling and punching gloves, then I slowly started putting on the little gloves and doing sparring with little gloves, still focusing on the grappling. That started in May, as it does now. I've had one session so far, I think, and it was really fun. I missed it quite a bit.”

Dariush is always eager to compete, so having to listen to his body wasn't easy. Ideally, he would return in the summer when he accepts the 2024 Forrest Griffin Community Award at the UFC Hall of Fame ceremony as part of International Fight Week.

“The problem with me is that one day I have to kill the competitor in me,” Dariush said. “My wish is always to fight. That's actually the problem. It gets in my way sometimes, but it also got me where I am. I can't complain too much about it. That being said, of course I want to fight, but I'm also someone who believes that God has his plans, and better plans.

“If his plan is: I'm done, then I'm done, but at the moment I don't think that's the case. I think I'll be back soon. If it were up to me, it would have been yesterday. But of course I'm trying to be patient and listen to my coaches, my wife, my family and hopefully the end of summer or early winter or something. I definitely want to fight before the end of the year, that’s what I’m trying to say.”

The story originally appeared on MMA Junkie