Charles Oliveira is the total package once he steps into the Ultimate FIghting Championship (UFC) Octagon, says undefeated Bellator MMA (mixed martial arts) prospect Lance Gibson Jr.
Gibson Jr. — son of UFC veteran Lance Gibson and stepson of former Bellator Women’s Featherweight champion Julia Budd — has high praise for the UFC Lightweight champion, Oliveira.
“Charles Oliveira is so deadly and I think he’s been — beside Poirier, as well — the most underrated. He’s absolutely deadly from every position,” Gibson Jr. tells MMAMania.com. “Wrestlers shoot in on him and he makes them scared every single time. Every single time they shoot in, they’re terrified of what he possibly could do. Whether he’s attacking your ankle for a heel hook or he’s submitting you immediately on a front choke or a guillotine. He has so many different variations from every aspect.
“I think that guy is really deadly. Anything can happen. Michael Chandler did a fantastic job against Oliveira. You have Dustin Poirier who is skilled and still underrated after proving himself many, many times. The lightweight division, I feel, will always be something tricky because anything can happen and new guys are constantly developing and getting better. “
Gibson Jr. is 4-0 as a pro-MMA fighter and 3-0 on the amateur circuit. In his second pro fight, “Fearless” beat Myles Merola, an 11-7 fighter at the time. His fourth professional fight was a victory over 6-2 Marcus Surin at Bellator 257. Looking up the Bellator Lightweight ladder, Gibson Jr. was surprised to learn that Patricio Pitbull had vacated the 155 crown.
“I’m surprised that he would drop it. That’s interesting,” he says. “He’s an excellent fighter. AJ McKee did a fantastic job in that championship fight (watch highlights) in the Featherweight Grand Prix. He did an incredible job. Honestly, it was impressive. I was kind of anticipating that a fight at 155 between them for that title.”
A lifelong martial artist under the tutelage of his father, Gibson Jr. supports the positive influence martial arts can have on children.
“I find martial arts to be a good thing, besides wrestling,” he shares. “I feel like kids can build this, almost, cockiness to them where they go about the world and think they are the best thing coming. It’s important to learn how to be humble and having humility is something that’s taught throw martial arts. Respect and discipline are essential in the world now. A lot of people, I feel, haven’t learned those lessons that you need to learn at that age and I feel like martial arts teaches it.
The Canadian fighter wraps up the interview by making a bold prediction.
“If I were to make a bold prediction for this time next year,” he begins. “I believe everyone will know my name by this time next year. It won’t even be a question of who I am and if I’m one of the best fighters in the lightweight division, period.”
Gibson Jr. (4-0) fights Raymond Pina (9-4) at Bellator 268, taking place inside Footprint Center in Phoenix, Ariz. on Sat., Oct. 16 via Showtime.
Finished reading this story? The party doesn’t have to stop. Click here to get more exclusive interviews.