After having to pull out of UFC 294 due to a cut, former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira sees two paths forward, and it could include a scrap with superstar Conor McGregor.
This Saturday was set up to be one of the biggest days in the esteemed career of Charles Oliveira. The Brazilian was set for a coveted rematch with lightweight king Islam Makhachev so he could get revenge for the loss to him last year and his title back. However, that is not happening due to some bad luck in training last week.
“[The doctor said], ‘You need 10 to 15 days away to be able to heal. Let’s also do an MRI to see if there’s any blood clot in your head, or anything like that, because it was a deep cut,’ and you start to get the real picture. You realize your dream to become champion right now is more distant, you won’t be able to fight now. You cry, you get sad, you want to be with people that really love you.”
“We can’t make mistakes. I’m not in a moment where I can make mistakes. There’s no need for us to fight like this. If it was for money, I’d definitely be fighting because it was a lot of money. But money isn’t the focus — it’s about legacy, and what we want to leave behind for the kids and others to talk about.”– Charles Oliveira
Charles Oliveira wants Conor McGregor fight next if he doesn’t get a title shot
Unsurprisingly, getting the winner of Saturday’s main event scrap between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski is a high priority for Oliveira. He is the top-ranked fighter in the division, a former champion, and a deserving opponent after a memorable hot streak before losing the belt. However, there has been resistance to a rematch from the champion’s camp.
In the end, Oliveira claims he is a company man and will do whatever the promotion prefers, but if he does not get a title fight next then making money will be a priority over legacy. And there is no bigger money fight in the sport than one against Conor McGregor. An opponent Oliveria has been interested in for several years.
“Charles Oliveira against Conor McGregor, money fight,” he said. “It’s a fight that will give us a lot of money. Conor sells, and Charles also sells. It’s a fight that everybody wants. The only one we don’t know if [he] wants this fight is Conor because I’ve said it a thousand times — 170, 185, 155, I don’t know, choose the weight. Say where and I’ll be there. Just send the contract and we’ll sign it. That’s the fight … I deserve it.”
Now that the Irishman is back in the USADA testing pool, he is expected to be booked in a bout with originally scheduled opponent Michael Chandler early in 2024. However, the promotion shifting gears and changing his opponent is not out of the question.