Who will be next for Charles Oliveira after UFC 274?

Mar 14, 2020; Brasilia, DF, Brazil; Charles Oliveira in the press room after fighting Kevin Lee during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio Nilson Nelson. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC 274, Charles Oliveira (33-8, 1 NC) was supposed to defend his lightweight title against Justin Gaethje (23-4). However, Oliveira weighed in just .5 pounds over the 155 pound limit and as a result, he was stripped of his UFC title.

Oliveira became the first champion in the history of the promotion to lose his title on the scale. That being said, the fight still went forward and Gaethje had a chance to become champion. Oliveira had a chance to keep himself as number one and fight for the vacant title next.

The fight started out crazy at UFC 274. In the opening seconds, Oliveira seemingly wobbled Gaethje with a big shot over the top. Then, when things got crazy in close, Gaethje was able to hurt and drop Oliveira.

Gaethje hurt Oliveira again later in the round, but I think Oliveira fell to his back on purpose. Oliveira also pulled guard during one of the clinch exchanges. The UFC 274 main event was back and forth and then everything changed just halfway through the round.

Oliveira blasted Gaethje with a right hand that set him down. Immediately, Oliveira jumped on him looking for a submission. Gaethje forced a scramble only to give up his back. Oliveira locked in the rear naked choke and Gaethje was forced to tap.

What’s next after UFC 274?

Let’s be very clear, Charles Oliveira is the best lightweight in the UFC and it’s not close at the moment. He also was essentially screwed at the weigh-ins last Friday. Now before you go crazy, hear me out.

We’ve seen champions over the years be given a ton of grace on the scales. Look at Khabib’s weigh-in for UFC 254 and tell me with a straight face that he was 155 pounds. He was 100% over and was given grace by the guy manning the scale.

Unfortunately for the former UFC champion, he was given no grace and had a stickler manning the scale. So because of that and .5 pounds, Oliveira is not the UFC lightweight champion although the public rightfully views him as the champion.

So who should be next for Oliveira? Well, there seems to be the most heat surrounding a fight between him and Islam Makhachev. While that could be the leading candidate, it’s not a forgone conclusion.

As crazy as it sounds, Conor McGregor could very well be in the discussion and we know Oliveira wants that fight. If I was to guess, I think the UFC moves forward with Islam Makhachev. But with Conor McGregor looming, you truly never know.