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Charles Oliveira says winner of Tony Ferguson fight is ‘the next title contender’

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“It’s very clear: Whoever wins this fight is the next title contender.”

UFC Fight Night Lee v Oliveira: Weigh-Ins Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC

Dark horse Charles Oliveira is on a seven-fight win streak and believes a victory over Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 ought to catapult him into title contention.

Oliveira, who has won his last seven fights via stoppage, is #7 in the UFC lightweight rankings but knows there is no way the UFC can deny him a title shot with a win over the No. 3-ranked Ferguson, who is looking to rebound from his TKO loss to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249.

“It’s very clear: Whoever wins this fight is the next title contender,” Oliveira said in a recent interview with MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz. “I have to stay focused and concentrated. He was coming off 12 wins in a row and I think he made a mistake against Justin Gaethje, so we can’t make mistakes in there.”

“Winning this fight I’ll be the next challenger, no doubt. Seven wins in a row at the moment. It will be eight after this, and I don’t plan on leaving it in the judges’ hands. It will be eight finishes in a row. There’s no way I have to wait. I’m the next challenger.”

Speaking of the matchup, ‘Do Bronx’ is expecting a tough fight but will be prepared for just about everything ‘El Cucuy’ brings to the table.

“He’s super tough,” Oliveira said. “He has his own fighting style, he spins with the elbow, the arm, the leg. He shoots for takedowns in a completely different way. We know the difficulties that this fight brings, the problem coming my way, but this is my moment. My time has come. There’s not much to do, just train and dedicate.

“I’ll have the perfect strategy for this fight and I’ll make it happen. He’s tough and has an incredible cardio, so let’s go.”

“Good jiu-jitsu, if you give him an opening he goes there and taps you,” he added. “You have to respect that. We can’t fool around because I can make a mistake and he submits me too. Fights are unpredictable, brother, anything can happen. But, like I said, this is my moment, this is my time. I’ll be 100 percent focused for this fight. I won’t make mistakes up there.

“His jiu-jitsu, his wrestling, his muay Thai, the crazy spinning things he does out of nowhere — I’ll be ready for all that.”

UFC 256 will take place on Dec. 12 at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.