A UFC lightweight who saw his stock soar in 2020 was “Do Bronx” Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). Oliveira has flown under the radar in the premium division in the promotion despite the winning streak he’s on.
Heading into 2020, Oliveira was riding a six-fight winning streak. Not only that, but he had finished all six opponents in those UFC contests. He started out 2020 by taking on Kevin Lee (18-6) back in March.
This event was actually the UFC‘s last event before they shut down due to the pandemic. Oliveira impressed again as he was able to score a third round submission victory over Kevin Lee. His seventh straight stoppage win in the lightweight division.
Then, Oliveira got the biggest fight of his career. A co-main event slot against El Cucuy, Tony Ferguson (25-5) at UFC 256. Ferguson was looking to bounce back after he had lost to Justin Gaethje (22-3) back in May.
Oliveira completely dominated the former UFC interim lightweight champion. Had Ferguson not been so tough, Oliveira would have scored another first round stoppage. He locked in a deep armbar that had me tapping from my chair at home.
Instead, Ferguson gutted it out and fought through it. However, Oliveira still dominated every second of the fight to make it eight straight. Last week, Dana White said that the UFC was looking to book Oliveira against Gaethje. Well, Oliveira is not a fan of that.
Do Bronx isn’t down with the UFC’s plan
Oliveira’s manager told MMA Fighting, “With all due respect, Khabib ran over (Gaethje). That must count, and a lot. I believe Charles’ next fight has to be for the belt against the winner of Poirier and McGregor, not Justin Gaethje.”
It was also revealed that Oliveira’s next fight will be the final fight in his UFC contract. However, Oliveira’s manager made it clear that Do Bronx isn’t going anywhere and that they are working towards a new deal with the promotion.
I completely understand where Oliveira is coming from. He’s won eight fights in a row and seven have been stoppages in the toughest division in the sport. However, that still might not matter at the end of the day.
Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) are fighting at UFC 257. The winner of that fight will be fighting for the lightweight title no matter what in their next fight. Should McGregor win, the UFC is going to push for the rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0).
Khabib is retired, but Dana White is going to try and convince him to fight one more time in the UFC this week. However, even if Khabib stays retired and McGregor wins, Oliveira will likely need to get one more win to get a UFC title shot.
While he’s certainly deserving, the promotion is also going to look at what’s the biggest fight they can make. McGregor – Oliveira doesn’t sell the way McGregor – Gaethje would. That said, I think Oliveira is going to have to settle for the UFC giving him Justin Gaethje.
If Do Bronx runs through Justin Gaethje, there’s no denying him. It’s a very tough position to be in, however, I don’t think he’s going to have another choice.