Charles Oliveira is not happy that Michael Chandler has been tapped as the back-up fighter for the UFC 254 main event on October 24.
Chandler, the former Bellator lightweight champion, recently signed with the UFC. While he does not yet have an opponent for his Octagon debut, he has agreed to step in if either UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov or interim champ Justin Gaethje fails to make it to their planned title fight at UFC 254.
Oliveira, who is on a fantastic, seven-fight win-streak—all finishes—is not impressed that the former Bellator champion received this opportunity.
“I’m in the best moment of my life, seven wins, man, and I don’t have an opportunity to fight someone in the top-5,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. “And now some guy from Bellator, who got knocked out in the first round [by Patricio Freire], he gets signed and is the next challenger for the belt. How come? I don’t get it. I don’t understand it.
“It’s seven wins in a row and I don’t leave it in the judges’ hands, I go there and get the knockout or the submission,” Oliveira added. “Go watch all of my fights, the first one all the way until my last one against Kevin Lee, which one wasn’t a show? When did I get booed? Never. Regardless if I won or lost, I’m always moving forward, always putting on a show.”
While Oliveira acknowledges that Chandler is tough, he believes the former Bellator champion has leap-frogged the lightweight contendership line and effectively stolen an opportunity that he hasn’t earned.
Oliveira is also becoming discouraged with his own inability to get a top-5 foe.
“Is Michael Chandler really tough? Sure, he was the Bellator champion and deserves respect, but where is he in the rankings?” Oliveira said. “He just got here with a big name and I’d definitely fight him, but now I want to fight someone ranked ahead of me. If there’s no one [available] and it has to be him, bring it. I’ll show him that he’s in the UFC now and there are no fools here.”
“If Charles could choose it would be someone from the top-5, any of them, but since things have been rough and I don’t know what’s going on and what I’m supposed to do, if I have to go there and talk trash, throw chairs through a bus, attack someone… I don’t know,” Oliveira added.
“That’s the point, I don’t know what I have to do. I go there and put on a show, I don’t turn anyone down, and I don’t have an opportunity. I think I’ll have to be the Charles that everybody knows I’m not, I’ll have to shove my opponent and curse their families, throw chairs and break things to be noted. I guess that’s what’s missing.”
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