There was a lot of doubt in Charles Oliveira when he won the lightweight title in the middle of last year by beating Michael Chandler. Chandler had just one UFC win behind him, and that was a knockout against Dan Hooker. The throne of the category remained vacant after the retirement of Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Oliveira and Chandler decided on a new champion.
After big problems in the first round, "Do Bronx" showed courage and came to the title by technical knockout in the second round. The UFC was criticized, as well as the Brazilian, for neither of those two fighters deserving a title match.
Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje were pushed to the forefront as the best fighters within that category. Charles Oliveira did not care too much for the critics. He accepted the match against Poirier and suffocated him in the third round of that match.
A fight against Justin Gaethje followed, and "Do Bronx" forced "Highlight" to surrender in the first round. The dilemma was no more. "The champion has a name and that's - Charles Oliveira."
The Brazilian is the best lightweight fighter in the world and no one can dispute that anymore. In fact, the scales proved to be an insurmountable obstacle ahead of the match against Gaethje, and Oliveira was left without a title due to being overweight.
It doesn't matter, it's a formality anyway, and everyone knows that Oliveira is now actually the unofficial champion of that category. He delighted the Brazilian in each of his previous 11 appearances, and with a break, he defeated all opponents in those matches except Tony Ferguson.
Islam Makhachev or Beneil Dariush will be his next opponents
If Oliveira stays at the top, it is not impossible to watch him again against Dustin Poirier or Justin Gaethje. Of course, provided they also keep their seats at the top.
Visiting the "THE FIGHT" podcast with Teddy Atlas, Dustin Poirier revealed where he and Gaethje went wrong in their performances against the great Brazilian fighter. First of all, he looked back on the mistake Gaeth had made.
Justin shook Oliveira during the first round but did not dare to continue the fight on the ground floor, although he could have had an upper position. “I think he should have followed him up,” Poirier said on “THE FIGHT with Teddy Atlas”.
“Got on top, tried to finish the fight. You know, find out how hurt Charles really was. There’s only one way to find out: You’ve got to dive in”. “Same thing with me – of course, you have to respect jiu-jitsu,” Poirier said.
“I’ve been doing jiu-jitsu forever. I’m a blackbelt, as well, and compete with and train with the best guys in the world. I’m confident, and I have good jiu-jitsu. I just respected him too much that I didn’t engage.
The plan was to by any means stay off the ground and don’t play jiu-jitsu at all with this guy. “So, even in the second round when I ended up on my back, and he was on top, I just tried to get stood up. I tried to get a stalemate.
I didn’t engage and use my jiu-jitsu offensively or defensively, and I should have. I should have created space. I should have attempted submissions and used that to create space and get back up”. Poirier explained.
The impression is that many fighters see Oliveira’s weaknesses and know where they went wrong, but once they find themselves in a cage with a Brazilian, we look at a completely different story.