The former UFC lightweight champion has been on an absolute tear warpath since his last defeat in Dec. 2017 to Paul Felder. Winning 11 straight bouts, Oliveira has yet to meet someone who can match his continually evolving skillset. Well, aside from the weigh-in scale, that is.
At UFC 274 this past May, Oliveira missed weight ahead of his championship bout against Justin Gaethje. As a result, “Do Bronx” became the first champion in UFC history to be stripped of the title due to their inability to hit the championship limit. It made no difference on fight night, however, as Oliveira went on to submit Gaethje with a first-round rear-naked choke.
Oliveira is all but guaranteed to be in the vacant title tilt, whenever that may come. In the minds of many, the logical dance partner for the all-time leader in UFC submissions is surging Dagestani dominator, Islam Makhachev.
Mentored by one of the sport’s all-time greats in Khabib Nurmagomedov, the two have been very vocal over recent months about how it’s time for Makhachev to get his shot.
“If they really want it, they need to chase the champion,” Oliveira told Ag. Fight. “I chased the champion, right?! Then I became the champion. I want to fight in December. Do you really want this?! So let’s do something cool. Now I’m talking to you. Let’s fight in January in Brazil? Isn’t that what you really want? So sell it more. But look at this, Khabib, you’ve already tried three premonitions about me and missed all three.
“Look, I won’t say I’m going to submit or knock him out, but I’ll beat him. Listen to this, I will beat Islam Makhachev. The division’s problem is called Charles Oliveira. That’s the division’s problem. It doesn’t matter what they say. If they really want it, I want it, too. Look, forget about Conor McGregor now, forget it. In Brazil, Charles Oliveira against Islam Makhachev. Is this the fight you want? So we will have it. Charles Oliveira against Islam Makhachev in Brazil.”
During his reign as champion, Oliveira played with the idea of a matchup against another former champion, Conor McGregor. But post-Gaethje victory, he’s let it be known that it’s the No. 1 fight he’s eying at present, majorly thanks to the payday that comes along with it.
Though never lacking in confidence, Oliveira is now open to taking things a step further with his attempts to prove doubters wrong.
“I’ll beat him (Makhachev). So who knows, maybe you come of retirement and come too?!” Oliveira said of Nurmagomedov. “Each one says what they want. I am the division’s problem. I have one of the best jiu-jitsu [games] in the division and in the UFC. I think these guys are talking too much. They want to get in my mind, but that’s not possible.
“The guy was champion, 29 wins in a row, and never said anything. He always sold the fight in a good way, really damn well and today he is always talking a lot. If it’s to talk, I’m gonna say it. I’ll beat Islam Makhachev and then challenge Khabib to come back from retirement. It’s the fight everyone will want to see. Isn’t that what everyone will want to see? Everyone says Khabib is f****** tough. I respect him a lot, but lately, he’s been talking too much.”