Charles Oliveira challenged UFC superstar Conor McGregor after his stunning submission victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 274. However, the UFC scheduled the Brazilian to face Islam Makhachev instead for the vacant lightweight crown at UFC 280.
In the main event of UFC 280, Makhachev submitted Oliveira in the second round to snap Oliveira's impressive 11-fight victory streak. McGregor, for his part, has been recovering since he fractured his tibia and fibula in July 2021 at UFC 264, and his management has vowed that he will make a return in 2023.
Several UFC stars participated in a Q&A session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, ahead of UFC 283 in Brazil. A fan asked the MMA fighters on stage who had the best chance of defeating Conor McGregor amongst Jose Aldo, Charles Oliveira, or Rafael dos Anjos.
While newly crowned UFC 185-pound champion Alex Pereira claimed that every named competitor has an equal chance of defeating 'The Notoriou', Jose Aldo quipped that 'Poatan' has a strong chance of knocking out Conor McGregor considering the Irishman's beefed-up physique.
Rafael dos Anjos, who was slated to face Conor McGregor at UFC 196 back in 2016, claimed that the Irishman cherry picks his fights:
“Conor picks his fights... Everybody wants this fight because it will be lucrative. He picks his fights. When he feels that’s the fight for him, he’ll choose it. We’ll be waiting but we’ll continue fighting in the meantime.”
Charles Oliveira backed up Dos Anjos' words and claimed that McGregor has been avoiding a fight with him:
“McGregor chickened out a long time ago. Like Rafael said, he handpicks his fights. I think he looks at the guy and thinks ‘I can beat this one,’ and then he signs the contract. He’s right not to fight me because he knows what will happen.”
Check out the full Q&A session below:
Michael Bisping asserts that Conor McGregor is still relevant enough for a UFC title opportunity
Since 2018, Conor McGregor has gone 1-3, with two consecutive losses to Dustin Poirier. 'The Notorious' has also been sidelined for nearly a year and a half, recuperating from a fractured leg while continuing to tease a high-profile return.
Despite his losses and prolonged hiatus, Conor McGregor remains the sport's biggest star. A fan suggested during a recent Q&A session on Michael Bisping's YouTube channel that the Irishman would likely need to overcome Dustin Poirier before challenging for the title.
Michael Bisping is however completely certain that if McGregor wins his comeback bout, he will receive an immediate shot at the championship. On his YouTube channel, the former middleweight UFC champion stated:
"Listen buddy, you like it or not, Conor's still the biggest star in the sport. And with one win, you can bet your bottom dollar that he is gonna fight for the title. Of course he is. And the reality is, if you own the organization and you had a guy like Conor that could bring in millions of pay-per-view buys, you'd probably do the same thing. I don't agree with it but that's just the way the world works."
Catch Bisping's comments below: