After Charles Oliveira was forced to vacate his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight title following his submission win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 (watch highlights) for coming in a half-pound heavy, “Do Bronx” found some comfort in knowing his next fight will be for the strap.
Against who, meanwhile, still remains a mystery; however, the consensus is that Islam Makhachev will get the nod. In Makhachev’s opinion, obviously, it’s a no-brainer that he gets the chance to fight for the title based on his impressive performances so far inside the Octagon.
“We don’t have a champion,” Makhachev told ESPN. “Charles is a contender. That’s why it’s going to be for the title. I deserve it. I have a 10-fight win streak. [Oliveira] said I don’t deserve this, but he’s asking about Nate Diaz and Conor [McGregor],” Makhachev said before going on to slam Oliveira for failing to hit the 155-pound mark on the dot, which is needed for championship fights.
“I think Charles is a No. 1 contender now. We don’t have a champion because he don’t make weight. He is not a professional.”
Obviously, fight fans are still hoping that Khabib Nurmagomedov returns to action one day, and a showdown against Oliveira — who has been unstoppable for the last four years, winning 11 in a row — is at the top of everyone’s wish list.
But, Makhachev says it’s a fight “The Eagle” wins with ease.
“This is like an easy fight for Khabib,” he said. “Khabib have the most dominant grappling from top. He’s going to take him down, hold him there. Very easy. I honestly think this is a very easy fight for Khabib. Stylistically, all of [Oliveira’s] pressure is not going to work against Khabib because Khabib pressures all of his opponents,” he added before saying his mentor will never get the chance because he will have taken care of business himself.
“We don’t have to say Khabib is going to beat Charles — I’m going to beat Charles,” Makhachev concluded. “And everybody is going to understand. Honestly, I believe I can finish this guy, and I really want to finish him in the grappling, in his area. I know I can do this.”