Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight contender Charles Oliveira would be right at home on some of the mixed martial arts (MMA) message boards, where bro-code dictates that any time you’re salty about a particular fighter, you simply mention the last time they got KTFO on the big stage.
Then again, it’s a well that most fighters drink from.
Oliveira is particularly salty about the promotion’s decision to sign former Bellator MMA lightweight champion Michael Chandler and immediately put him in line for a potential title shot as back-up for the UFC 254 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.
“I’m in the best moment of my life, seven wins, man, and I don’t have an opportunity to fight someone in the Top 5,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. “And now some guy from Bellator, who got knocked out in the first round, he gets signed and is the next challenger for the belt. How come? I don’t get it, I don’t understand it.”
Chandler (21-5) was stopped by Patricio Freire at Bellator 221 but has since captured back-to-back knockout wins while securing victories in nine of his last 11 fights. Perhaps Oliveira is overlooking the fact that Dana White and Co. may have used the UFC 254 back-up role as a negotiating tool to help lure “Iron” out of free agency.
“Is Michael Chandler really tough? Sure, he was the Bellator champion and deserves respect, but where is he in the rankings?” Oliveira continued. “He just got here with a big name and I’d definitely fight him, but now I want to fight someone ranked ahead of me. If there’s no one and it has to be him, bring it. I’ll show him that he’s in the UFC now and there are no fools here.”
Oliveira (29-8, 1 NC) has finished seven straight opponents, including Kevin Lee at UFC Fight Night 170 back in March. The victory over “Motown Phenom” was enough to bump the Brazilian up to No. 6 in the official rankings. Based on their respective trajectories, it feels like a Chandler showdown is a matter of when, not if.