Charles Oliveira will have to move mountains to convince Justin Gaethje that he’s the real deal, as ‘The Highlight’ still isn’t sold on ‘Do Bronx’ ahead of the Brazilian’s proposed lightweight title bout with Dustin Poirier at UFC 269.
Gaethje acknowledges that Oliveira is the current lightweight champ but claims the latter’s come-from-behind TKO win against Michael Chandler at UFC 262 is proof that he’s a ‘quitter’.
But that’s just like, Gaethje’s opinion, man.
“Great fights but not championship caliber contender fights,” Gaethje said of Oliveira’s nine-fight win streak via UFC Unfiltered (h/t MMA Fighting). “That just is what it is. Hey, he’s got the belt, he can tell me to shove it. That’s what I would be saying, exactly what he said — I would tell me to shove it up my ass and go win eight in a row.
“I’m in a great position, I don’t have to win eight in a row. I’ve got to win one in a row. So if he wins, I would love to fight Charles Oliveira, because I will show you what I’m saying. He’s a quitter. He is a quitter. He showed it to you in the Michael Chandler fight. At the end of the first round, he was not looking good, he didn’t want to be there. He doesn’t want to be there when it gets nasty. That’s just what I think, that’s my opinion. And Poirier is going to beat him up.”
Gaethje discredited Oliveira’s lopsided win over Tony Ferguson and explained why he thinks Poirier will get the victory and walk away with the title on Dec. 11.
“It’s a very interesting matchup. I’ve got to favor Poirier, most certainly,” Gaethje said.
“[Oliveira] is a great grappler — he’s a great grappler — but again he doesn’t have great ability to take you down to the ground. Poirier being a southpaw, it’s always funky when you face southpaws. It’s a little bit different, you don’t see them too often. [Poirier] does a great job at controlling range. Oliveira is not Khabib [Nurmagomedov] — he doesn’t march forward and march through things to close that distance. He really needs you to either choose to take him down or he needs you to buy into the grappling with him and go into the clinch. He has some good takedowns from the clinch and I think that’s the only time he takes people down, is from the clinch. So I don’t see Poirier being in the clinch a lot.
“I’m not high on Oliveira yet, and I get a lot of sh*t for it,” he added. “He fought eight [wins] in a row, but at the end of the day, Tony Ferguson was the best win on that streak by far, and it was after I put him through 24 minutes and 15 seconds of f*cking straight hell. And I didn’t break [Ferguson], he’s not done — that dude is special kind of dude so he’ll never be broken — but there’s a certain way to fight that man, and I showed you how to do it. So that win isn’t as great as it was — and it wasn’t as great as when I beat him, when he was on his 12-fight win streak. After that, it’s not as great, and that’s just what I think.”
Gaethje will return to the octagon to take on Chandler at UFC 268 on Nov. 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Meanwhile, Oliveira is expected to defend his title against Poirier in the UFC 269 main event on Dec. 11 at a TBA location.