Friday, June 24, 2022

Makhachev Resurrects ‘Oliveira Is A Quitter’ Narrative

UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev has shared a sentiment popular among some of former champion Charles Oliveira’s previous opponents.

Throughout Oliveira’s once-unlikely reign, one narrative existed, and it surrounded the idea that “Do Bronx” has some level of quit in him. Despite Oliveira overcoming adversity against Michael Chandler at UFC 262, Justin Gaethje was pretty resounding in his view of the Brazilian, suggesting that Chandler’s early barrage proved that Oliveira has a tendency to give up.

But at UFC 269, the now-former champion, a title he acquired after being stripped of the belt following a weight miss earlier this month, defended the belt against the heavily-favoured Dustin Poirier, once again forcing a stoppage after being knocked down early.

That pattern continued against Gaethje at UFC 274. While “The Highlight” was out to prove himself right, he ended up tapping out in the third round after being locked in a tight rear-naked choke. Like his previous two fights, Oliveira’s triumph came after he’d gotten a feel of the canvas following some clean shots.

Having overcome adversity to have his hand raised three times in a row, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the ‘Oliveira has quit in him’ narrative has become a thing of the past. Nope. Top contender Makhachev has now breathed fresh life into the sentiment.

During a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, Makhachev suggested that when confronted with a true challenge, Oliveira quits, something the Dagestani believes the eight losses on the former champ’s record proves.

“We know when someone give him hard time, he always gives up,” said Makhachev. “That’s why I’m gonna take him down, make him tired, and he’s gonna give up like he did 10 (eight) times in the UFC.”

Makhachev: When I Make Oliveira Tired, He’ll Quit

Makhachev went on to claim that the only reason the Brazilian didn’t give up in his past three fights was due to the fact that his opponents were strikers and were mostly unwilling to mix with him on the ground.

The #3-ranked contender promised to show what happens if Oliveira gets tired when he is the one standing toe-to-toe with him inside the Octagon.

“He is the same. If someone give him hard time, he’s gonna give up, 100%,” said Makhachev. “These guys, like Chandler, drop him down but nobody keep him there, make him a little bit tired, give him a hard time there. Like last fight, how Justin fight with him. He almost finished him… dropped him down but stayed in the striking.

“This is big mistake. Everybody’s scared of his grappling, but I don’t care about it… I know I’m gonna take him down, make him tired, and I can finish him there,” claimed Makhachev. “When I make him tired, I know 100% he’s gonna give up. He give up how many times? Versus Pettis, Holloway; many times, nothing changes. I know this. People say he is the most dominant champion, but all his opponents drop him down.”

With Oliveira’s weight miss and subsequent victory over Gaethje, the lightweight title is now without an owner. “Do Bronx” has secured his place on one side of the inevitable vacant championship fight, and Makhachev believes he should be the one opposite him.

If the UFC agrees, and if Oliveira’s unwillingness to fight the Dagestani until he beats Beneil Dariush and another contender dissipates, Makhachev may well have the chance to prove his theory right.

If he fails, it’s safe to say that nobody can brand Oliveira a ‘quitter’ anymore, if that ship hasn’t sailed already…

Do you agree with Islam Makhachev’s assessment of Charles Oliveira?

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