Oliveira had UFC gold wrapped around his waist for the first time at UFC 262 in May this year. After the great Khabib Nurmagomedov vacated the title, “Do Bronx” faced relative promotional newcomer Michael Chandler for the belt in a memorable main event clash.
Despite looking moments away from defeat in the opening round, Oliveira survived and mounted a remarkable second-frame comeback, emerging victorious via TKO. The result saw Oliveira reach the UFC mountaintop after 26 fights in the promotion. His championship crowning was added to a host of accolades, including the records for most submission wins, most finishes, and highest finishes-per-win percentage in UFC history.
After the post-crowning euphoria, Oliveira’s focus will now be on his upcoming first defense. In the main event of UFC 269 on December 11, he’ll face #1 contender Poirier. “The Diamond” is coming off two victories over megastar Conor McGregor and has now turned his attention back to the title.
Poirier Aims To Drag Oliveira To Deep Waters
Following his victory over Chandler, one of Oliveira’s lightweight peers wasn’t impressed. Former interim champ Justin Gaethje claimed that even in defeat, “Iron” showed that Oliveira is a “quitter.” That’s despite the fact the Brazilian overcame early adversity to finish Chandler. According to “The Highlight,” Poirier will make the champ quit this Saturday.
Despite not necessarily agreeing with his fellow former interim titleholder, Dustin Poirier does intend on testing his theory when he enters the cage with “Do Bronx.” In a recent interview with MMA Junkie, the Louisianan revealed his intention to test Oliveira’s perseverance by dragging him to deep waters.
“I would love for the fight to reach that point to where we’ll find out (if Oliveira can dig deep) in front of the world. That’s a goal of mine; to get this fight into deep waters and see who really wants it more, who is willing to bleed more, and leave it all out there. Because I know I will. No question about it.
“But going to what Justin said, dude, I’ve said this. I’m saying the same shit over and over again every interview. It feels corny but when a fighter goes out there, our last fight is the most important. He (Oliveira) got hurt, came back second round and showed his championship grit and finished Michael Chandler; a guy that just took Justin to hell. So, if that says anything, you’re as good as your last fight. He’s a world champion.”
Perhaps Gaethje will have his own chance to test Oliveira’s toughness if the reigning champ successfully defends his gold against Poirier. After his victory over Chandler at UFC 268, it stands to reason “The Highlight” will challenge the UFC 269 victor in the first half of 2022.
What do you make of Charles Oliveira’s resolve and toughness?