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There was likely no other fighter who was more interested in the
top two fights at UFC 257 than lightweight contender Charles
Oliveira
.

Coming off eight straight wins — seven via submission or TKO —
including an impressive triumph over former interim lightweight
champion Tony
Ferguson
, the Chute Boxe fighter is confident he should face
Dustin
Poirier
for the 155-pound belt next. Poirier, of course,
knocked out Conor
McGregor
in Saturday’s headliner at Etihad Arena in Abu
Dhabi.

Sherdog.com spoke with Oliveira and his trainer, Diego Lima, at
approximately the same time UFC president Dana White was starting
the post-fight press conference on Saturday night.

“There is no other path to go. I´m coming from a sequence of eight
wins. If Khabib [Nurmagomedov] returns, I’m the only one in the Top
4 that didn’t face him. It’s me and him or Poirier, who did a great
job against McGregor and already knocked out [Justin] Gaethje. So
the only fight would make sense is myself against Khabib or
Poirier.”

Nurmagomedov retired after defeating Gaethje at UFC 254 in October,
and meetings with White have not persuaded the Dagestani champion
to return for one more fight.

When asked about the possibility of White punishing him for

allegedly not accepting a fight
with Dan Hooker,
Oliveira insisted that he did not receive that offer. Hooker
ultimately suffered a first-round KO loss to Michael
Chandler
in Saturday’s co-main event.

“That offer never came to me,” Oliveira said. “On the contrary, I
made myself available in case something happened with McGregor
and Poirier in the week of the fight. You saw how Hooker fought
against Chandler, He ran from the beginning till the end, so I
have nothing to say about him.”

Oliveira has not considered the possibility of Chandler skipping
the line of lightweight contenders following his impressive debut
performance at UFC 257.

“Chandler did a great job proving to be a tough guy fighting in an
aggressive way as he always did in Bellator, but I have no doubt
that Dana White will take into consideration the recent history of
the lightweight division in UFC,” Oliveira said.

Shortly after Oliveira’s statement, White indicated that Poirier
could square off with Chandler in a bout for the vacant lightweight
belt. Lima pointed out that White also made a few similar
statements the previous week that didn’t necessarily come to
fruition.

“I don’t believe Dana will make such an important decision
concerning one of the most competitve weight classes in the UFC
right after the event,” Lima said. “When Charles defeated Ferguson
[at UFC 256], he said Charles should fight the winner of McGregor
and Poirier. Later, he said if McGregor wins, he would do
everything to bring Khabib back.  Now he says Chandler will
fight Poirier. Tomorrow morning he may have a
different opinion. So I’d rather wait on an official decision
to talk about that.”

Though White’s statement clearly upset him, Oliveira did his best
to follow his trainer’s lead.

“I’ve been a UFC employee for 11 years. You beat eight
guys in a row, you set the record for most submissions in UFC
history, you beat Ferguson, who was No. 3 in the [UFC] rankings …
then a guy coming from a rival organization takes your spot after
beating the No. 6 ranked fighter.

“Of course it’s not fair, of course I´m not happy, but I´ll keep
doing my job in order to reach my dream. In 2021, I´ll have the UFC
lightweight belt around my waist. My fans can bet on that.” 
 


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