Michael Chandler’s UFC debut could have been against Charles Oliveira rather than Dan Hooker, according to UFC president Dana White.
White revealed Oliveira had been offered a quick turnaround fight against Chandler following his lopsided decision win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 but that the Brazilian turned it down due to weight cutting issues.
“We offered him this fight (with Chandler), but he couldn’t make weight, so you can’t blame the guy for that,” White told The Mac Life in a recent interview (h/t BJPenn.com).
White holds no animosity towards Oliveira, who has struggled to make weight in the past, and is excited for what the future holds for ‘Do Bronx’ at lightweight.
“Look at Oliveira. I mean, look at what this guy has done,” White said. “Coming off that performance that he just put on over Tony, it’s hard to overlook him.”
Oliveira is on an eight-fight win streak and has won all but one of those bouts via stoppage. The 31-year-old MMA veteran is #3 in the UFC lightweight rankings and his manager, Diego Lima, says Oliveira’s next fight ‘has to be for the belt’.
UFC 257, which features Hooker vs. Chandler as the co-main event, takes place on Jan. 23 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.