AUSTIN -- UFC has a new potential star emerging at 155 pounds.
It's the biggest win of Tsarukyan's career and improves his UFC record to 8-2. His only losses were against current champion Islam Makhachev in 2019 and a somewhat controversial decision loss to Mateusz Gamrot in 2022. Saturday was the fastest finish of Tsarukyan's UFC appearances.
"I wanted to perform well, knock him out, go home and get my title fight," Tsarukyan said. "I do want to say thank you so much to Beneil. He is the most respected fighter in our division for me. Nobody wanted to fight me. Just one guy wanted to fight and it was Beneil Dariush. Because of him, I'm a top-five fighter, and hopefully my next fight will be for the title. If not, it doesn't matter. I will fight the next one. I'm going to be a champion."
Tsarukyan, 27, landed the right hand after bringing Dariush's defense down with a knee to the body. His speed advantage was apparent. Tsarukyan landed four more right hands after Dariush went crashing to the canvas, but none was probably necessary. Tsarukyan leapt out of the Octagon to celebrate with some of his supporters sitting cageside.
Quietly, Tsarukyan is asserting himself as one of the most dominant lightweights in the division. He has struggled to attract big name opponents such as Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje or Michael Chandler, but his wins over lesser-known fighters such as Damir Ismagulov, Joel Alvarez and Olivier Aubin-Mercier have demonstrated his enormous potential.
Dariush, 34, suffered his second consecutive defeat after previously winning eight in a row. He was one win away from securing a title shot in June but lost via first-round TKO to former champion Charles Oliveira.