In a shocking turn of events, Beneil Dariush's longtime reign as a top-five-ranked lightweight was abruptly halted at UFC Austin as he succumbed to a devastating knockout at the hands of Arman Tsarukyan. The highly anticipated lightweight bout, which served as the main event of the evening, unfolded at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas.

From the opening bell, Tsarukyan exuded an air of confidence, displaying an aggressive stance and pressing forward with relentless pressure. Dariush, known for his composure and technical prowess, attempted to counter Tsarukyan's aggression with calculated strikes.

The pivotal moment arrived just over a minute into the first round. Tsarukyan unleashed a powerful knee to Dariush's body, effectively lowering his guard. Seizing the opportunity, Tsarukyan followed up with a thunderous ground and pound after Dariush came crashing to the canvas. The referee swiftly intervened, halting the contest at the official time of 1:04 of the first round. The crowd erupted in a mix of shock and awe as Tsarukyan celebrated his emphatic victory.

The knockout was a devastating loss to Beneil Dariush who was just one fight away from a title shot when he came into his last fight against the former champion Charles Oliveira. Now he is on a two-fight skid for the first time in five years and will need to go through a gauntlet if he wants to get back into title contention. Let's take a look at what could potentially be next for Beneil Dariush after his setback at UFC Austin.

Mateusz Gamrot

Beneil Dariush's recent loss to Arman Tsarukyan was a setback for the lightweight contender, but it shouldn't derail his path to a title shot. Dariush is still one of the best fighters in the division, and he has a number of intriguing matchups available to him.

One of the most logical next opponents for Dariush is Mateusz Gamrot. Gamrot is a highly skilled grappler who is also coming off a win, as he defeated Rafael Fiziev and Jalin Turner in back-to-to-back fights. These two have already fought each other but it would be a step in the right direction for Gamrot to stake a claim as the rightful contender for the lightweight championship. A fight between Dariush and Gamrot would be a clash of styles, and it would be a great opportunity for both fighters to push themselves toward title contention.

Rafael Fiziev

In the wake of his stunning knockout loss to Arman Tsarukyan at UFC Austin, Beneil Dariush finds himself at a crossroads in his lightweight journey. Despite the setback, Dariush remains a formidable contender with a proven track record of success. As he seeks to regain his momentum, a matchup against Rafael Fiziev emerges as an intriguing and potentially explosive pairing.

Fiziev, known for his flashy striking, and unorthodox style, has captured the attention of fans and pundits alike with his recent string of victories. His most notable performance came against former interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje, where he displayed remarkable resilience and striking prowess.

While Dariush's loss to Tsarukyan was a temporary setback, his overall body of work and skills remain undeniable. A matchup against Rafael Fiziev would provide a compelling opportunity for Dariush to showcase his talents and regain his footing in the lightweight title race.

Benoit Saint Denis

In the aftermath of his recent defeat to Arman Tsarukyan, Beneil Dariush, the seasoned lightweight contender, finds himself at a crucial juncture in his career. While the setback was undoubtedly a blow, Dariush's reputation as a formidable force within the division remains intact. As he seeks to regain his momentum, a matchup against Benoit Saint Denis, the rising French prospect, emerges as an intriguing and potentially explosive pairing.

Saint Denis, known for his dynamic striking and relentless pressure, has steadily climbed the lightweight ranks, showcasing his potential to challenge the division's elite. His most notable performance came against former ranked lightweight contender Matt Frevola who he knocked out in just 1:31 in the first round.

A clash between Dariush and Saint Denis would present a compelling spectacle. Dariush's technical striking and grappling expertise would be tested against Saint Denis's aggressive, high-volume striking style. This contrast in styles would create an unpredictable and exciting dynamic. A victory for either fighter would propel them into a more prominent position within the lightweight division, potentially earning a shot at the title. This would be a great stepping stone and win for both fighters that will earn them a title shot in the near future.