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Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight contender Charles Oliveira wants to go old school to determine a new champ in his division.
Oliveira, who has won his last seven bouts all by stoppage, spoke to Sherdog on Wednesday about his thoughts on the future of the UFC lightweight class. As Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 and retired, the belt is presumably vacant. Like many fans, fighters and media members alike, Oliveira believes the best way to settle it is through a grand prix tournament.
“I [am a] guy who is coming from a sequence of seven wins, just beat the record of most submission wins in UFC history and never leaves the fights in judges’ hands. [I] should be at least respected [by] receiving some opponent placed above [me] in [the] ranking[s],” Oliviera stated firmly. “But I need to work, and when you are in that position you get all the offers. First, they gave me Diego Ferreira (#8), later Beneil Dariush (#11) and next Islam Makhachev (#12). Some got hurt, others did not accept, and I ended up here waiting.”
For the sixth ranked Brazilian on the UFC ranks, and #5 lightweight on Sherdog’s official rankings, his ideal opponent is someone like former interim champ Dustin Poirier. Poirier is the only current top-five fighter still active that would be coming off of a win, as Gaethje and Tony Ferguson both lost their last bouts. As UFC President Dana White already stated that Poirier will most likely be facing Conor McGregor, “Do Bronx” is expecting to face Dan Hooker or Justin Gaethje.
“I’m aware that I need to make one more fight to get a title shot,” the Brazilian admitted. “But why don’t they decide [the] lightweight division with the fights in the same event: McGregor vs. Poirier, Tony Ferguson vs. Michael Chandler and myself against Dan Hooker or Justin Gaethje? That would be an amazing event for the fans and could decide the future of lightweight in few hours.”
Oliveira also commented on the title fight between Khabib and Gaethje last Saturday, and he was not impressed with Gaethje’s performance.
“Everything happened just like I expected, all stand-up fighters like Poirier, Conor and Gaethje panic when Khabib takes them down. I would love to see the champion against a ground specialist like myself or Tony Ferguson. Certainly, it was one of the ugliest fights I’ve ever seen. Gaethje was totally tired within two minutes.”
When asked to predict his possible next challenges in UFC, Oliveira pointed to Ferguson as the toughest guy in the division.
“[Tony Ferguson] is the most complete one, I believe he will beat Chandler. About me and Gaethje, I’m a bad matchup for him [as] I also walk forward all the time, just like Khabib did and also would bring him trouble [on] the ground.”
Even considering that McGregor is considered a substantial betting favorite in an oft-discussed rematch against Poirier, Oliveira does not see how the Irishman could beat him if they ever fought.
“My style also doesn’t fit for [Conor McGregor]. I would give him his first knockout in UFC," Oliveira confidently concluded.
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