Charles Oliveira needs title shot, “not Justin Gaethje,” says manager

Charles Oliveira
Image via @ufc on Instagram (photographer not listed)

Charles Oliveira deserves a crack at the UFC lightweight title, rather than a fight with Justin Gaethje, according to his manager Diego Lima.

Oliveira is currently on an impressive, eight-fight win-streak, highlighted by triumphs over the likes of Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson. In the wake of his win over Ferguson, UFC President Dana White suggested he’s likely to be matched up with Justin Gaethje, who will be looking to rebound from a submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Lima, however, feels Oliveira deserves a crack at the lightweight title that will likely soon be vacated by the retiring champion Nurmagomedov. Ideally, he’d like to see Oliveira fight the winner of the upcoming UFC 257 fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier for that prize.

“I honestly think he deserves to go straight for the belt,” Lima said in an interview with MMA Fighting, laying out his plans for Oliveira. “He’s coming off eight wins in a row, beat Kevin Lee in great fashion and then dominated Ferguson all around—and Ferguson is one of the best of the division, won 12 straight before losing a title fight—so I think Charles is ready and has enough credibility to fight for the belt.

“With all due respect, Khabib ran over [Gaethje]. That must count, and a lot,” Lima added, sharing his disinterest in a Gaethje vs. Oliveira fight. “I believe Charles’ next fight has to be for the belt against the winner of Poirier and McGregor, not Justin Gaethje. But we know this fight between Poirier and McGregor involves a lot of things. We know that Poirier winning means one thing, and McGregor winning changes the whole scenario. I think there’s a lot at stake in this fight.”

“We absolutely want to renew the contract and book Charles’ next fight – and God willing, it will be for the belt. The position he is right now, the amount of wins he has, what he’s done in his last fight, I think he deserves an upgrade in his purse. It’s more than deserving. Not only for his position in the ranking, but also his history in the organization.

“Most bonuses, most finishes, most submissions… He might break two or three records in his next fights. All that, plus his win over Ferguson, will be very important when we renew the contract.”

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