The UFC‘s lightweight division is in a very unique spot. There’s still not really clarity at the top of the division with the undisputed champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0), seemingly retired. Yet, he still holds on to the title.
Just over a week ago at UFC 257, we saw Dustin Poirier (27-6, 1 NC) knock out Conor McGregor (22-5). In retrospect, this fight should have been for the vacant UFC lightweight title if Khabib is truly retired. However, Dana White has held out stripping Khabib in hoping he’ll come back.
In all likelihood, Khabib is not going to return to the UFC. At least, he’s not going to return anytime soon. With that, there’s no doubting that the top guy in the UFC is currently Dustin Poirier. You could consider him the uncrowned champion at this point.
After his win at UFC 257, Poirier said that he was only interested in a few opponents for his next fight. Keep in mind that his next fight should be for the lightweight title. Poirier said that he would fighter McGregor, Nate Diaz (20-12), or Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC).
The hardcore fans are very much behind Oliveira getting the title shot. However, we know that the UFC is a business and sometimes the best business decision outweighs the fair decision. With that, should Charles Oliveira be the next in line for the title?
Case For Oliveira’s title shot
The easy thing to say here is that of course Oliveira deserves a title shot in his next fight. He’s currently on an eight-fight win streak where he’s finished seven opponents. In the UFC’s lightweight division, that’s almost unheard of.
Oliveira last competed at UFC 256 when he took on former interim champion, Tony Ferguson (25-5). Oliveira completely dominated Tony Ferguson over three rounds and came extremely close to finishing him in the first round.
After the fight, Oliveira said that he wanted the Poirier – McGregor winner for the title. After Poirier’s win at UFC 257, he also seems on board with fighting Do Bronx for the lightweight championship. However, is the UFC going to do that?
Oliveira has been sensational, however, during this eight-fight winning streak, he only has one top ten win. He submitted Kevin Lee and defeated Tony Ferguson, however, Ferguson’s stock had dropped after the beating he took from Justin Gaethje (22-3).
Why the UFC will likely say no
While Oliveira has looked sensational, he still doesn’t have that much general/casual steam behind him. There’s not an outcry from the public to see him fight Dustin Poirier for the title. While the MMA purest would love to see him fight for the title, it wouldn’t be the best business decision.
For Oliveira to get a title shot and it make sense on all fronts, he needs another big win. He needs to defeat someone else who has a big following in the UFC. If Oliveira can beat a guy like Gaethje or Michael Chandler (22-5) next, I think it would put him over the top.
I’m honestly torn on Charles Oliveira getting the next shot. I get it, he’s won eight in a row. However, only one of those wins was considered to come against the division’s elite. That combined with the lack of drawing power makes me hesitant to throw him in there against Poirier.
Anything can happen, but I would be pretty surprised if Oliveira gets the next UFC title shot. At the end of the day, you have to check the boxes of big business and resume. At the moment, Oliveira only checks the resume which is why I think he ultimately will not get the next shot.