Sitting at #3 in the official UFC lightweight rankings, the streaking Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira has called his next shot. With the future of the undisputed championship still unclear, the Sao Paulo native has floated a vacant title matchup against recent UFC 257 big winner, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier.
The winner of eight straight, Oliveira, who is the most prolific submission finisher in promotional history with a whopping eleven separate stoppage, featured twice last year, scoring a 2-0 record.
Headlining UFC Fight Night Brasilia in March, Oliveira bested former interim title challenger, Kevin ‘The Mo’Town Phenom’ Lee in a catchweight contest via a third-round guillotine win. Taking co-main event status at UFC 256 in December, the Chute Boxe trainee took home a dominant, one-sided win over former interim champion, Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson over three frames.
With the fighting future of current undisputed champion, Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov still uncertain, it seems more and more unlikely he’ll make an Octagon return from his October retirement, as per UFC president Dana White who claimed following Poirier’s win over two-weight world champion, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor last weekend, that things weren’t looking good in regards to a return for Nurmagomedov.
While a potential vacant title matchup between main event winner, Poirier and co-main event victor, ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler has been floated by White, American Top Team mainstay, Poirier has distanced himself from the clash, claiming Chandler should score a couple more wins under the UFC banner rather than land in the promotion with his win over Dan Hooker, and immediately challenge for gold.
If Chandler appears to be out of the sweepstakes for a possible vacant title shot according to number-one contender, Poirier, the surging Oliveira spoke with MMA Fighting reporter, Guilherme Cruz recently, detailing how he should battle Poirier for the vacant crown.
“That’s the fight to make [me and Dustin Poirier],” Oliveira said. “Dustin Poirier himself said this is the fight to make. I’m coming off eight straight wins, and I’m not playing games in the division, and he knows that.“
“What’s left? There’s nowhere to go,” Poirier said.“The UFC gave me Tony Ferguson on twenty days’ notice, ‘The Boogeyman’, and you saw what happened. They put Dustin Poirier against Conor McGregor — everybody knows how important (McGregor) is for the promotion — and look what Dustin Poirier did. Don’t we deserve this title fight? This is the fight to make.“
A dominant grappler with an ever-evolving striking game on the feet, Oliveira has put prior composure and wilting woes behind him over the last twenty-four months and is hedging his bets on a title reign before the culmination of this year.
“Dustin Poirier is really tough on the feet and on the ground,” Oliveira said. “Everybody knows I’m evolving on the feet I don’t shy away from trading with anyone. But also everybody knows how dangerous I am when I take people down. I respect everyone, but this is my moment and my time. I’ll be the UFC champion in 2021. (By) knockout or submission, it doesn’t matter, my hands will be raised in the end.“
While Oliveira has called his shot next, the possibility of a rubber-match trilogy between Poirier and McGregor looms large in the background, with both sides noting their interest in a matchup in their respective next outing, with Team McGregor hoping to score a vacant title tilt against the Lafayette favourite as soon as May.