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Called the best middleweight in the world by Anderson
Silva
in 2006 and referred to by Antonio
Rodrigo Nogueira
as his toughest ground training partner during
the Brazilian Top Team era, Paulo Filho
has been retired from MMA since 2018.

However, he still continues to follow the sport, and he was an
interested observer in the UFC 274 headlining bout between Charles
Oliveira
and Justin
Gaethje
, which “Do Bronx” won via first-round submission.

“The ground level Charles has reached in MMA is something really
special,” Filho told Sherdog.com. “The way he moves and
reaches submission positions against such high-level opponents
is really beautiful to see. It looks like he is playing. I truly
don’t see anyone in the division taking this title from him
now.”

The only advice the Carlson Gracie black belt has for Oliveira is
to take the amount of time of necessary to rest his body before
stepping into his next bout, which will be for the now vacant
lightweight crown.

“He is coming from four wars against top contenders like [Tony]
Ferguson, [Michael] Chandler, [Dustin] Poirier and [Jutin]
Gaethje,” Filho said. “If I were him I would recover from those
wars full of concussions and [weight cuts] and return at 100%
around November or December.”

Filho also agreed with Oliveira´s request for Islam
Makhachev
to have at least one more fight before being
scheduled to face the Brazilian with the belt on the line.
 

“Which Top 5 contender has Makhachev faced? I have to agree with
Charles when he asked the UFC to give [Makhachev] at least one real
challenge before fighting for the belt,” Filho said. “But If I were
him I wouldn’t wait more than seven months. He has the
champion aura right now.”

According to the former WEC champion, Makhachev is a more difficult
matchup for Oliveira than retired former lightweight king Khabib
Nurmagomedov
would have been.

“Anyone who grapples with Charles today will tap,” Filho said.
“Only a really top striker who could control him standing up and
avoid the ground would have a chance against Charles. He is much
superior to Khabib in the stand-up game, and on the ground Khabib
would end up tapping, as well as Makhachev.

“But Makhachev at least has better weapons to face Charles standing
up. Don’t get me wrong, I truly respect Khabib, who is in my
opinion still the best lightweight of all-time for his numbers and
invincibility. I also consider Makhachev as one of the best guys in
the division. I just don’t see Charles as a good stylistic matchup
for either.”


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