Charles Oliveira’s express victory over Justin Gaethje only further heightened questions and fan interest regarding Oliveira’s comparisons to Khabib. The Brazilian has scored 11 wins in a row and many regret that Khabib withdrew before clashing with Oliveira.
The Do Bronx acts as a fighter who could be a stylistically very awkward opponent for retired Khabib and more and more are starting to call Oliveira the greatest fighter in UFC lightweight history. Nurmagomedov believes that this is nonsense, and in an interview with ESPN, he explained why the epithet still belongs to him.
"This one is a little bit bad for him. Every fight he goes down, couple of times. Last fight, it was like, how many? Two, three times knockdowns? With Michael Chandler, with Dustin Poirier, with Justin Gaethje, he always goes down.
This is like a little bit questionable, you know. Nobody ever touched my face, and all the time he go down. People cannot talk about like compare me vs. Charles Oliveira." Khabib commented on the mentioned comparisons. Islam Makhachev as Khabib’s legitimate successor could give us a lot of answers about how Oliveira would deal with Khabib.
Makhachev is very similar in style to Khabib, they have been training together for years, and the match between Oliveira and Islam is more and more likely. Khabib believes that Oliveira will confirm the epithet of champion only if he beats Makhachev as well.
Khabib says Charles is doing a good job.
"If Charles wins against Islam, we have to give him credit. Then he’s going to be undisputed UFC lightweight champion. Right now, I believe he’s champion. I believe even this.
People talk about the half-pound. I believe he deserved it. Right now, in this moment, he deserve to be champion. He’s doing a very good job, you know? But he’s not undisputed. When I finished, I was undisputed."
Khabib said, and then gave his view of the potential match between Oliveira and Makhachev. Various theories about Khabib's return to the cage have surfaced in recent days. Many are wondering what will happen if Oliveira defeats Makhachev, and whether Khabib will then be motivated to do another match and avenge his friends.
One of those who ask that question is Daniel Cormier, but it seems that Khabib’s promise to his mother is stronger than any other motive that could put him back in the cage.