Whether he has the title or not, Charles Oliveira has proven that he is currently the best lightweight on planet Earth. Oliveira took on Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 274 in what was supposed to be his second title defense. Having missed weight, though, 'Do Bronx' was forced to vacate the title, and only a Gaethje win would see a new champion being crowned on the night.
Oliveira survived early adversity to pick up an emphatic first-round submission victory against 'The Highlight' at UFC 274. Heading into the fight, Gaethje claimed that the Brazilian must be wary of his striking prowess and that the best way for Oliveira to win the fight is to take him down.
The former champ was defiant and chose to fight fire with fire instead. After withstanding some vicious leg kicks early on in the fight, Oliveira started landing straight rights to negate the kicks. Both men began indulging in phone booth striking exchanges before a hook by Gaethje knocked Oliveira down.
However, 'The Highlight' let the Brazilian back up as he thought he had a better chance of finishing the fight on his feet. After back-and-forth exchanges, a right hand by Oliveira connected flush and dropped Gaethje. The former champ immediately pounced on his grounded opponent, putting him in a triangle choke.
When that didn't work, Oliveira seamlessly transitioned into a rear-naked choke by taking Gaethje's back and forcing him to tap. This was Oliveira's 11th win on the trot, and he is now the top contender and will fight for the title next, as confirmed by Dana White.
Charles Oliveira calls out Conor McGregor; Irishman responds
Following his victory over Justin Gaethje, Charles Oliveira called out the 'Notorious' Conor McGregor. The Brazilian urged McGregor to stop "running away" and fight him for lightweight gold next.
"Hey, Conor McGregor you coming up or are you gonna run away?!" Oliveira said during his customary post-fight octagon interview.
McGregor has responded to the callout, and although he hasn't confirmed whether he will accept the fight, the Irishman said he's pondering his next move. While he doesn't wish to make the grueling cut to 155lbs at the moment, McGregor claimed he'd like to fight Charles Oliveira because of his perfect record against Brazilians in the UFC.
"I’m not sure I wish to cut the weight. I am really enjoying being built like a refrigerator. I feel I want to fight at this size just to watch it back lol. But I’d love to fight the Brazilian, 100%! I love Brazil and I’m unbeaten against Brazil. All KO’s. I’ve some thinking to do," McGregor wrote on Twitter.
The former two-division champion is expected to return to the octagon later this year.