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Charles Oliveira deserves UFC title shot because Khabib ‘ran over’ Justin Gaethje

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UFC Fight Night: Lee v Oliveira Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight contender Charles Oliveira, who currently sits in the No. 3 spot at 155 pounds, should be next in line for a division title shot once reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov vacates his title.

That’s according to manager and coach Diego Lima.

“I honestly think he deserves to go straight for the belt,” Lima told MMA Fighting. “He’s coming off eight wins in a row, beat Kevin Lee in great fashion and then dominated Ferguson all around — and Ferguson is one of the best of the division, won 12 straight before losing a title fight — so I think Charles is ready and has enough credibility to fight for the belt.”

Unfortunately for Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC) — and the rest of the 155-pound weight class — there are no guarantees that Nurmagomedov will be giving up the belt. That means “Do Bronx” may have to take another fight while the promotion figures out how to retain “The Eagle.”

Justin Gaethje appears to be the leading candidate.

“With all due respect, Khabib ran over [Gaethje],” Lima said. “That must count, and a lot. I believe Charles’ next fight has to be for the belt against the winner of Poirier and McGregor, not Justin Gaethje. But we know this fight between Poirier and McGregor involves a lot of things. We know that Poirier winning means one thing, and McGregor winning changes the whole scenario. I think there’s a lot at stake in this fight.”

Poirier rematches McGregor in the UFC 257 pay-per-view (PPV) main event later this month in Abu Dhabi and since both combatants were handily defeated by Nurmagomedov, it’s hard to imagine a rematch holding much interest for “The Eagle.”

Then again, anything can happen in MMA.