After over a decade in the promotion, Oliveira finally had UFC gold wrapped around his waist at UFC 262 in May. “Do Bronx” secured his spot in the vacant 155-pound title fight after racking up an eight-fight win streak that included victories over Clay Guida, Nik Lentz, Kevin Lee, and Tony Ferguson.
In the Houston-held pay-per-view’s main event, the Brazilian faced former Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler. After overcoming adversity in the opening frame, Oliveira recovered to record a TKO victory in the second. In doing so, he reached the lightweight mountaintop after 28 fights in the UFC.
Despite a hard-fought victory and a heart-warming championship crowning, not everybody was impressed. Speaking months after UFC 262, former interim champ Gaethje suggested Chandler showed that Oliveira is still a “quitter.”
During a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca, the lightweight king fired back. Oliveira slammed Gaethje for his performance against Khabib Nurmagomedov, and suggested the #2-ranked contender is simply trying to keep himself relevant because he’s been on the sidelines for so long.
“He [Chandler] landed a good hand, had the opportunity to knock me out and win the fight but couldn’t. I went there and knocked him out. Justin Gaethje had the opportunity to fight for the belt against Khabib and you all saw what happened, I don’t need to say what happened. The ugliest fight I’ve ever seen in my life, he died, so I don’t have anything to say. You know when a guy needs to talk to be on the spotlight? To me, that’s what’s going on here. He needs to talk to be on the spotlight.
“On Dec. 11, Charles Oliveira will be fighting Dustin Poirier and if God wants me to win and continue with this belt, these guys have to win, they have to fight. If they fight and win, they can come. Tell them to come try and see if I’ll quit. They don’t understand it’s a new Charles, mentally, physically and spiritually. They may hit hard, but can they take it when I hit them back? I’m the same Charles that doesn’t talk, I lay low, but these guys just want attention. And how do they seek for it? Justin Gaethje hasn’t fought in what, a year? Everybody saw his last fight. It’s been a while. What happens is that if you don’t fight you have to talk, so he has to talk to get attention.”
Oliveira further disputed the claim that his title victory showed his tendency to quit. He encouraged Gaethje to earn a shot at the 155-pound gold and prove that the Brazilian is a quitter himself.
“Michael Chandler landed a good one and hit me hard for basically three minutes, he did everything he could and I didn’t quit. Why? I’m in a great place mentally, physically and spiritually,” Oliveira said. “When I hit him, he folded. What they are saying doesn’t make much sense.
“Those who think I’m a quitter, tell them to earn it, win their fights and come get it. We’ll see who quits and loses. But come ready, both on the feet and on the ground. That’s what I have to say. There’s no point talking, brother. If talking won fights I’d put a parrot in there to win fights because no one talks more than them. I have a red macaw in my farm and it talks all day long, so it would win everything.”
Oliveira will have the chance to prove “The Highlight” wrong when he makes his first title defense later this year. In the UFC 269 main event, he’ll face the challenge of Dustin Poirier.
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 269, Charles Oliveira or Dustin Poirier?