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UFC 262: Charles Oliveira is the rightful UFC lightweight champion, but the work has just begun

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UFC 262: Charles Oliveira v Michael Chandler Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Charles Oliveira captured the vacant lightweight title by smashing Michael Chandler in the UFC 262 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last night (Sat., May 15, 2021) inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, a spectacular second-round finish that followed a batshit opening frame.

That’s pretty much every Chandler fight, which is why UFC did not hesitate to sign him.

Unfortunately for “Iron,” who now stands at 1-1 inside the Octagon, he’ll go back to the mid-card for the time being. Though I would think with all the trash that was talked at the UFC 262 pre-fight press conference, a Tony Ferguson rebound fight feels inevitable.

“El Cucuy” was topped by Beneil Dariush in the UFC 262 co-main event.

“I think we saw one of the toughest dudes on the planet come back from some adversity,” Chandler said. “Charles Oliveria’s the real deal, I take nothing away from him. I will be back. I promise you I’m going to wear that UFC strap within the next 12 months.”

No. 2-ranked Justin Gaethje may have something to say about that.

Oliveira, 31, won his ninth straight by planishing Chandler and improved to 31-8 (1, NC) overall. There’s likely to be a portion of the MMA community that won’t really consider Oliveira to be the “real” champion because he didn’t beat Khabib Nurmagomedov.

But Nurmagomedov didn’t beat Oliveira either.

We also have to consider Dustin Poirier, who is ranked No. 1 in the division and coming off a technical knockout victory over Conor McGregor. I’m not sure it’s fair to punish Oliveira for “The Diamond’s” decision to chase that “Notorious” paper.

This is prize fighting and a McGregor fight is the biggest prize of them all.

And if Poirier can replicate his performance at UFC 257, where he finished McGregor in the second stanza, he’s going to get a title shot anyway. If he loses, then “Notorious” will probably skip the line and get another crack at the 155-pound crown.

Financially, that would be the best-case scenario for Oliveira.

“I wanted to come here and show I’m the best in this division,” Oliveira said after the fight. “You brought me a match from Bellator and I told you I was going to knock him out and I knocked him out. I’m proving to everybody, I am the lion of lions. Michael you’re a great champion but today was my day.”

A day he earned after more than a decade of UFC competition.

“Do Bronx” is the rightful champion because the promotion booked the two best lightweights who were available. The Brazilian has not been defeated in nearly three years and should be recognized as the “the man” until proven otherwise.

For complete UFC 262 results and play-by-play coverage click here.