Charles Oliveira capped one of the more improbable reversals of fortune in UFC history this year when he claimed the UFC lightweight title. The first half of Do Bronx’s Octagon tenure is remembered for inconsistent performances, losses on the grandest stages and repeated issues on the scales. However, since 2018 the Brazilian has gone undefeated in nine fights (with eight finishes) and shown—beyond doubt—that he’s one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport.
Now that he stands atop the mountain at 155 lbs, Oliveira is looking down at his competition and wondering who will be the first challenger for his title. Most agree that Dustin Poirier is in pole position for that opportunity, thanks to his pair of TKO wins over Conor McGregor this year.
Poirier is also ranked at the number one contender spot, above Justin Gaethje and Beneil Dariush, according to the UFC’s official rankings. However, despite saying he is eager to fight for the belt, Poirier has also expressed a willingness to fight someone who is unranked.
Lately Nate Diaz and Poirier have been sparring online over a potential match-up, one that was made—and broken—in 2018.
Oliveira has been paying attention to all this. And he told AG Fight that not only would he not begrudge Poirier for choosing to fight Diaz over him, but that he thinks it’s a great idea.
“If Dustin agrees to fight Diaz, is he wrong? No, it’s not wrong. He is right,” said Oliveira (ht bjpenn). “You have to see what’s good for him. Everyone has to choose what is right for them.”
Oliveira then explained that in the past he turned down a so-called ‘money fight’ against Diaz because his sole focus was winning the UFC lightweight title. Oliveira said that, now that this goal has been achieved, his new focus is about putting money in his pocket.
“Today I’m UFC champion, now I want to make money. Everyone has a way to choose. Today I am the champion. I’m not worried about who will be or who will not be, who has to chase who will fight for the title, it’s them, it’s not me.”
“Today nobody wants to know about a belt, they don’t want to know about a belt,” added Oliveira. “They want to know about ‘money’, about money in your pocket. The fight against Conor made a lot of money for Dustin Poirier, a fight against Nate will make a lot of money too. We are human beings. It depends a lot on each person. I would rather fight for the belt than for the money. I had a focus. I wanted to be UFC champion. Today I’m UFC champion, I want to make money, I want to have money in my pocket.”