Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira open to giving Conor McGregor a title fight before Justin Gaethje

Reigning UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira may be seeing green after his recent title defense over Dustin Poirier at UFC 269. After Oliveira defeated Poirier by second-round submission, the assumption was that the champion would next defend his title over top-contender Justin Gaethje, who was in attendance for the title fight.

The title defense was the first of Oliveira’s career since becoming champion which he did with a second-round TKO of Michael Chandler at UFC 262. Following his victory over Poirier, Oliveira got into a back-and-forth spat with former featherweight and lightweight champion, Irish superstar, Conor McGregor, who called for his title fight against the champion, despite losing his last two fights to Poirier.

While Justin Gaethje has earned his spot as the top contender in the UFC’s lightweight division and the rightful next challenger to Oliveira, the champion has other plans. Speaking to Trocação Franca, the Portuguese-language podcast on MMA Fighting, Oliveira explained why if offered the opportunity, he would choose McGregor as his next opponent.

“If I had the chance [in the past] to fight for the belt or fight Conor, everybody knows I’d fight for the belt. That already happened, I’m the champion now. The champion has a name and his name is Charles Oliveira, Charles ‘do Bronx.’ If I had the chance to fight Conor for money today, I would.” (H/T MMA Fighting)

Understanding that there may be some criticism to the idea of putting a fight with McGregor ahead of the most deserving title challenger, Charles Oliveira would go on to say that only a fool would pass up the opportunity, and he has to think of his family and future in regards to a massive payday fight with the Irish superstar.

“Of course, no one’s a fool. ‘No I’ll fight someone else because of the belt, leave Conor alone’ who’s going to do that? Only a fool. If I had the opportunity to fight Conor, I would definitely fight Conor. The belt is mine regardless. The division has to get by and wait a little bit. There’s nothing else to do. We have to think about our familes, our children, think about what we can do down the line.”

There’s no question that fighting Conor McGregor would be the biggest prizefight in the career of Charles Oliveira to date, but he didn’t completely turn away from a fight against Justin Gaethje either.

“The champion has a name now, we’re part of the same organization, and I’ll fight whoever the UFC puts against me. If they say it’s Conor, I’ll fight him. If they say it’s Justin, I’ll fight him. I just want to go home now and get some rest with my daughter and go back to the cage as soon as possible.”

Coming as a shock to some at UFC 269, Charles Oliveira retained his title and now the champion has options, and he’s not shying away from a fight with the biggest superstar, or the most-deserving contender.

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