Charles Oliveira could have competed on Saturday night against Michael Chandler in the UFC 258 co-main event, but ‘Do Bronx’ reportedly turned the fight down because there was no lightweight title up for grabs.
UFC president Dana White confirmed that report in a recent interview with Complex, defending Oliveira’s decision to sit out and wait for a better opportunity.
“Was there an offer for Chandler to fight Oliveira?” White said (h/t Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting). “Yeah, but to be fair to Oliveira, it was soon. We were just checking to see if those guys wanted a quick turnaround. Oliveira said I want a full camp and there’s nothing wrong with that.
“I don’t want to make it sound like, ‘Oliveira turned down Michael Chandler,’ because that’s not true. What Oliveira turned down was a short-notice fight. If we could make it and pull it off, wanted to do it. If he wants a full camp, absolutely fair.”
Oliveira is on an impressive eight-fight win streak and is unbeaten since December 2017. The Brazilian holds the record for the most submission wins in UFC history (14), as well as being tied for the most finishes in the promotion’s history at 16. With his most recent win being a lopsided decision victory over former interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson, Oliveira feels he’s deserving of the next title shot and won’t settle for anything less.
White didn’t confirm Oliveira’s next fight but said UFC matchmakers are ‘working on it right now’.
“We’re working on it right now,” White said. “We’re working on it.”