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Charles Oliveira is no ‘fool,’ would let Conor McGregor jump the line

Charles Oliveira knows there’s money to be made in facing Conor McGregor

UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira.
Charles Oliveira defeated Dustin Poirier via submission at UFC 269
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Charles Oliveira has won and defended the UFC lightweight title, he feels it’s time for him to look for ways to capitalize on his standing as UFC champion.

One way for Oliveira to do that is to face the biggest draw in mixed martial arts today — Conor McGregor.

“If I had the chance (in the past) to fight for the belt or fight Conor, everybody knows I’d fight for the belt,” Oliveira said on MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca. “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. The belt is mine and continues being mine. We’ll continue building our legacy and making history.”

For those inclined to question Oliveira, remember, in February 2021 he shut down a possible money fight with Nate Diaz to concentrate on winning UFC gold.

Oliveira’s focus on the UFC 155-pound title paid off in May when he scored a second-round TKO win over Michael Chandler to win the vacant title.

Now that he has the title, Oliveira is turning his attention to using his status to secure the biggest payday possible. If that means facing McGregor, who is coming off three straight losses at lightweight, so be it.

“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,” Oliveira said.

Oliveira defended his title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269. Oliveira won that bout via third-round submission. After the fight, UFC president Dana White said a matchup against Justin Gaethje “makes sense” for Oliveira’s next title defense.

McGregor’s lightweight record stands at 0-3 since 2018. He was submitted by then-champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018 and had back-to-back TKO losses to Poirier in 2021. McGregor’s most recent win at 155 pounds was his 2016 knockout of Eddie Alvarez, where he became a two-division UFC champ.