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Manager: Charles Oliveira’s next fight ‘has to be for the belt’, not against Justin Gaethje

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“I believe Charles’ next fight has to be for the belt against the winner of Poirier and McGregor, not Justin Gaethje,” Lima said.

UFC Fight Night: Lee v Oliveira Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Charles Oliveria’s manager disagrees that Justin Gaethje should be next in line for “Do Bronx”, as he feels the Brazilian has earned his shot at the belt.

UFC president Dana White revealed earlier this week they plan to book Oliveira against former interim champion Gaethje next. Oliveira, 31, has won his last eight fights at 155-pounds, the most recent being a one-sided decision against Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 last month.

Talking to MMA Fighting, Oliveira’s manager and coach Diego Lima said his fighter deserves to face the winner of Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor 2 for the lightweight title.

“With all due respect, Khabib ran over [Gaethje]. That must count, and a lot,” Lima said. “I believe Charles’ next fight has to be for the belt against the winner of Poirier and McGregor, not Justin Gaethje. But we know this fight between Poirier and McGregor involves a lot of things. We know that Poirier winning means one thing, and McGregor winning changes the whole scenario. I think there’s a lot at stake in this fight.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov is still listed as the UFC lightweight champion, despite being retired. As of this writing, no title is on the line for Poirier vs McGregor 2 on Jan. 23rd, so it’s safe to assume a vacant lightweight title fight will be scheduled for the winner of that fight. Whether Oliveira will get his shot at the belt or be scheduled against Gaethje is unclear.

“Justin is a tough opponent and I think tough opponents make good fights, like we saw in Charles against Kevin Lee and Ferguson,” Lima said. “Charles is ready to win against anyone in the division. Everybody knows Charles’ ground game already, everybody can see his evolution in the wrestling and on the feet.

“With all due respect to Gaethje, a tough guy, I see Charles winning in all areas. If this fight gets booked, we’ll study Gaethje’s game hard and go for the win.”