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When it comes to his upcoming unconfirmed title fight, Charles Oliveira would like to say, “not so fast, my friend.”
Earlier this week, outlets like MMA Fighting reported the news that Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC) would be taking on Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC) for the lightweight throne at UFC 269. The reports stated that the two had not yet signed the contracts yet, but verbal agreements are in place. Oliveira spoke to Sherdog on Thursday about this situation, clarifying that this first title defense is still under negotiation.
“Everybody is publishing that Poirier is going to fight with me,” Oliveira noted. “But until that moment, it’s still under negotiation, I didn’t sign any contract yet.”
Concerning the possible challenge with Poirier, the Chute Boxe representative believes he has weapons to beat the American Top Team standout anywhere the fight goes.
“Poirier is one of the most dangerous guys of the lightweight division,” Oliveira admitted. “[He] always walks forward, but I think I’m at a different level, both in striking and also in the ground.”
When asked to point out how the fight would go, the Brazilian gave a short but direct answer.
“I would submit Poirier,” the champ said, brimming with confidence.
“Do Bronx” was among those on Wednesday that heard former title challenger Justin Gaethje call his title reign the “laughing stock” of the organization, and he was none too pleased with that statement. Oliveira had an answer for “The Highlight.”
“What I have to say to Gaethje is do your job, win your fights and get your opportunity, just like I did and make it happen,” Oliveira responded. “I’m going to be here with my belt. When you get nine straight wins you may complain with Dana. Nine months ago, I was top seven, asking for an opportunity against a top-five contender. Ten days before UFC 256, Ferguson’s opponent got hurt and I was in shape ready to accept the UFC invitation.
“After completely dominating Ferguson, I conquered my title shot,” Oliveira continued. “I did 28 fights in the UFC in the last 11 years, I was coming from eight consecutive wins, I have the bonus record of UFC, I beat the record of submissions of Royce Gracie and Demian Maia in the organization. If I didn’t have the right to fight for the belt, who should have? If I’m the champion today, it is because I fought a lot for that.”
After getting that off his chest, Oliveira was ready to move forward and prepare for all possible challengers – in the lightweight division, there are many foes he has not faced, and he looks forward to meeting each and every one of them in the future.
"Today I’m not worried about who said bad things about me, or who I’m gonna fight against,” the champ explained. “My main concern is be ready to face any challenger [the] UFC chooses, and that's what I’m gonna be in December, against Poirier or any other.”
Even when going through his wild schedule since earning UFC gold by defeating Michael Chandler in May, Oliveira always found time to keep training.
“I never gave so many interviews in my life,” the Brazilian expressed. “But no matter where I went, I always found an academy to train; now that UFC decided the date, media time is over and I’ll be 100% focused in the camp.”
The champion turned his sights from his next matchup to those that may present themselves to him in the future. Both Rafael dos Anjos vs. Islam Makhachev and Chandler vs. Gaethje present opportunities for the victor, where one could be facing Oliveira with an impressive victory. When it came to the latter, Oliveira couldn't point a favorite between Gaethje and Chandler.
“Both are brawlers with knockout power,” Oliveira stated. “Probably Gaethje has better combinations, but Chandler is also very dangerous, it's pretty much 50-50.”
When it came to the dos Anjos-Makhachev battle, “Do Bronx” sees the former champion and fellow countryman as a slight favorite.
“Makhachev deserves all respect, but he just faced fighters who respected him, always walking backwards and allowing him to impose his game. Dos Anjos has strong hands and a very high level of jiu-jitsu. He will bring different challenges to Makhachev. It’s gonna be a war, but I see RDA winning,” Oliveira concluded.
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