The most recent UFC lightweight champion remains the top dog at 155-pounds despite not holding the title at present. Ahead of his last bout against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 in May, Oliveira made history as the first champion in promotional history to miss weight, resulting in his stripping of the title.
Regardless of scale troubles, “Do Bronx” looked arguably better than ever, slugging it out with Gaethje as soon as the fight began. Ultimately, “The Highlight” suffered the same fate as most before him, succumbing to a first-round rear-naked choke submission.
Viewed by many as the king without his crown, Oliveira is expected to compete for the vacant title when he steps back into the octagon, it’s just a matter of who that comes against. If the all-time leader in UFC submissions has his way, there’s only one right choice.
“[Conor McGregor] would be a very good fight for me,” Oliveira told ESPN. “It would put a lot of money in my pocket, and [at this moment] that’s the most important thing. And it would also be really good for my legacy, for me to have in my story. Regardless, if he’s coming from defeat or not, he’s a guy who’s made history, so I think it would be great, but it’s not just up to me. If it were up to me, this fight would already be happening.
“I have a daughter to raise. Everyone wants to fight Conor, it’s not just me who wants to. Everyone knows that fighting Conor is very profitable. I’m talking about money. And Conor knows that, that everyone wants to fight him.”
For “The Notorious” McGregor, he’s struggled in his most recent appearances against rival, Dustin Poirier. Scoring a first-round knockout in Sept. 2014, McGregor found himself unable to replicate those same results seven years later in their rematch. Poirier bested the Irishman with a second-round knockout against the cage before earning a TKO in the trilogy after McGregor sustained a broken leg. Still on the road to recovery, it’s unsure exactly when McGregor will return but all signs point to him potentially being ready before 2023.
As for the other more logical options, most may agree that the No. 4 ranked contender in the official UFC rankings, Islam Makhachev, should be next to compete for the title. Like Oliveira, Makhachev is also on a 10-plus winning streak.
“I’ve never ran from a fight and the lightweight champion is called Charles Oliveira,” Oliveira said. “Is Islam a very tough guy? Yep. Did he fight big names? No. He’s on a big streak, but who did he fight?”
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Charles deserves a big payday… but he should be able to get that by fighting a legit contender. Thanks for reading!