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Charles Oliveira hopes beating Islam Makhachev will lure Khabib out of retirement

UFC Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Induction Ceremony Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

While it’s not yet signed, it’s widely believed that Charles Olivera and Islam Makhachev will collide for the vacant Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight title sometime late this year. For Oliveira, it would be the chance to reclaim the 155-pound crown he “lost” on the scale ahead of his fight against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274. For Makhachev, it would be the crowning moment of his career if he can win UFC gold for the first time.

The fight was initially in talks to go down in Abu Dhabi sometime in October, though it seems both parties are now keen on the fight going down in Brazil. For Oliveira, he welcomes the homefield advantage.

“If they really want it, they need to chase the champion,” Oliveira told Ag. Fight (via MMA Junkie). “I chased the champion, right? Then I became the champion. I want to fight in December. Do you really want this? So let’s do something cool. Now I’m talking to you. Let’s fight in January in Brazil? Isn’t that what you really want? So sell it more. But look at this, Khabib, you’ve already tried three premonitions about me and missed all three,” he added before saying he won’t call his shot, but he will predict a victory.

“Look, I won’t say I’m going to submit or knock him out, but I’ll beat him. Listen to this: I will beat Islam Makhachev. The division’s problem is called Charles Oliveira. That’s the division’s problem. It doesn’t matter what they say. If they really want it, I want it, too.”

“Do Bronx” was eyeing a big-money showdown against Conor McGregor, but now the former champion is willing to put that to the side for the moment to handle business with a more worthy title contender in Makhachev. Furthermore, Oliveira seems to think that by beating Makhachev — Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protege — then “The Eagle” might come out of retirement in search of revenge.

“Look, forget about Conor McGregor now. Forget it. In Brazil, Charles Oliveira against Islam Makhachev. Is this the fight you want? So we will have it. Charles Oliveira against Islam Makhachev in Brazil.

“I’ll beat him [Makhachev],” he continued. “So, who knows, maybe you (Nurmagomedov) come of retirement and come, too? Each one says what they want. I am the division’s problem. I have one of the best jiu-jitsu (games) in the division and in the UFC. I think these guys are talking too much. They want to get in my mind, but that’s not possible,” he added, before saying while he’s always respected Khabib, he doesn’t care for all of his recent chatter.

“(Khabib) was champion, 29 wins in a row, and never said anything. He always sold the fight in a good way, really damn well, and today he is always talking a lot, and if it’s to talk, I’m gonna say it: I’ll beat Islam Makhachev and then challenge Khabib to come back from retirement. It’s the fight everyone will want to see. Isn’t that what everyone will want to see? Everyone says Khabib is f*cking tough. I respect him a lot, but lately, he’s been talking too much.”

Khabib — who was recently inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame — has not competed since retiring from the sport in Oct. 2020.