Lightweight contender Charles Oliveira is preparing to square off against Jared Gordon on Saturday night at UFC Sao Paulo. However, “Do Bronx” already has his sights set on a bigger challenge: the undisputed lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The submission specialist feels most comfortable fighting off his back and will frequently challenge his opponents with his jiu-jitsu. Oliveira believes his skills pose a new threat to the lightweight champion who also uses his grappling expertise to smother opponents. He said during an interview with AG Fight:
“I can’t say anything about Khabib, he’s been defeating everybody, He beat all the top guys. But they’re all strikers, none of them were jiu-jitsu guys who were unafraid of being taken down. I’m the answer to his game, I’m the right guy to fight Khabib, I think that, if I win two more fights, who knows, I might have this opportunity to fight him. It would be great since I have my jiu-jitsu and I’m not afraid of being taken down.”
Oliveira highlights that most of Nurmagomedov’s opponents have been strikers. As a result, many fighters become so focused on defending against “The Eagle’s” submission attempts, they offer very little attack. During an interview on the Joe Rogan podcast, Conor McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh admitted they were too focused on defending takedowns and in hindsight, they would have tried a more offensive strategy.
The Brazilian fighter is riding a five-fight win streak against the likes of Clay Guida, Jim Miller and most recently, Nik Lentz. However, he has been submitted since joining the UFC in 2010. In 2016, the Oliveira suffered back-to-back guillotine choke losses against Ricardo Lamas and Anthony Pettis.
The Russian champion’s weapon of choice is the rear-naked choke, which he used to submit his last opponent, Dustin Poirier at UFC 242. With a current record of 28-0, Nurmagomedov is expected to defend his belt once again against Tony Ferguson.
Do you think Charles Oliveira has proved he has what it takes to fight the lightweight champion? Find out this weekend when he meets Jared Gordon at UFC Fight Night 164, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 16.