Charles Oliveira targets fights with fellow UFC champions Kamaru Usman and Alexander Volkanovski

The Brazilian has said he is open to moving up and down across weight classes

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Thursday 13 January 2022 00:17
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UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira has expressed a desire to move up and down across weight classes to challenge for more titles.

After a retiring Khabib Nurmagomedov relinquished the lightweight belt in late 2020, Oliveira knocked out Michael Chandler last May to win the vacant gold, before submitting Dustin Poirier in December to retain it.

While the Brazilian’s next fight looks likely to be a lightweight title defence against Justin Gaethje or Conor McGregor, Oliveira is eyeing potential clashes with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and featherweight title holder Alexander Volkanovski.

Oliveira, who competed at featherweight before moving up to 155lbs, told MMA Fighting: “I really thought I couldn’t drop to 145 anymore.

“But this last weight cut, I was really [close to] 155 before the fight with this work we’ve been doing, with lots of water in the body, and we believe we could easily make 145.

“If I had the opportunity to go straight for the 145 belt, I’d move down to fight. Also, if I had the opportunity to go straight for the 170 belt, I’d also move up to fight.

“But I believe it’s more viable to [drop down] to 145 instead of going to 170 at this moment. Becoming a two-division champion, a Brazilian man, would be awesome.”

Only seven fighters have ever held UFC titles in two different divisions, with just four of them holding those belts simultaneously. Among the latter group is Oliveira’s compatriot Amanda Nunes, who is women’s featherweight champion and only recently lost her bantamweight belt.

Any bid by Oliveira to become a dual-weight champion will likely have to wait, as Volkanovski and Usman look set to defend their titles soon.

Volkanovski was due to take on Max Holloway in a trilogy bout at UFC 272 in March, but Holloway has withdrawn from that fight due to injury – per ESPN – with Chan Sung Jung the frontrunner to replace the Hawaiian.

Meanwhile, Usman is expected to defend his title against former opponent Leon Edwards in the near future.

While Gaethje is the No1-ranked lightweight in the UFC, Oliveira has made no secret of his wish to fight McGregor next.

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