Charles Oliveira has had one of the most incredible career turnarounds in recent history and is riding a ten-fight winning streak. The current lightweight champion will put his belt on the line for his second title defense at UFC 274 against former title challenger Justin Gaethje.
Surging lightweight contender Islam Makhachev has been adamant that he deserves a title shot, considering he's on a ten-fight winning streak himself. Even though he's currently ranked No.3 in the division, Makhachev's only competition in the top 10 has been his fight against Dan Hooker, who stepped in on short notice to replace Rafael dos Anjos.
In a recent interview with the Brazilian channel Ag. Fight, 'Do Bronx' addressed multiple topics. A clip from the interview was uploaded to the YouTube channel Brazilian MMA Legends, where Oliveira can be seen speaking about the Dagestani's chances for a title shot. The reigning champion said:
"He's been asking a lot for this title fight, but I think that, you know, I think he needs to face a guy who is at the top, a top 5, right? To be able to have a title shot. That's 10 wins in a row, but he's never fought ranked or top guys. So for sure he needs to do one or two more fights so we can make it happen." [Translation via Brazilian MMA Legends]
Charles Oliveira harked back to his own winning streak before his title shot, and recalled how he was asked to secure a win against an opponent ranked in the top 5 to have a legitimate claim to title contention. Islam Makhachev is scheduled to fight No.4-ranked Beneil Dariush next. While the Dagestani probably expects a title shot after beating Dariush, Oliveira believes one more win may be required:
"The fights he's winning are with striking guys... I think the fight against Dariush is a perfect fight for him to do. And with him beating Dariush, he definitely needs to get one more guy from the top to then have a title shot." [Translation via Brazilian MMA Legends]
Watch the clip below:
Watch the full interview in Portuguese below:
Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev could make for one of the greatest grappling contests in UFC history
The Brazilian lightweight champion has been on an absolute tear and is the most lethal submission artist in UFC history. Charles Oliveira holds the record for not just the most submissions (15) but also the most wins in the organization (18). He is tied with Donald Cerrone for most post-fight bonuses (18). Of his 32 wins, 29 have come via knockout or submission.
Islam Makhachev is a longtime teammate of former champion and lightweight legend Khabib Nurmagomedov. His coach Javier Mendez believes that Makhachev is better than 'The Eagle' in his overall ability.
A fight that MMA fans looked forward to many times was Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson, which unfortunately fell through five times. Many see a possible Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira bout as the second coming of the ill-fated Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson fight.
Both Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev are absolute geniuses on the ground, and if the fight comes to fruition, watching the clash of sambo vs. jiu-jitsu will be a treat for all MMA fans.