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Charles Oliveira targets March or April return, questions if Beneil Dariush is ‘the fight’ for title contention

UFC 280: Oliveira v Makhachev Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Charles Oliveira wants his 155-pound UFC title back.

The Lightweight and Featherweight divisions will be showcased against each other at UFC 284 next month (Sat., Feb. 11, 2023) in Perth, Australia. Islam Makhachev seeks his first title defense by fending off reigning Featherweight kingpin and pound-for-pound best, Alexander Volkanovski.

Had Oliveira stifled Makhachev this past Oct. 2022, it would be him making the trip instead. Now, “Do Bronx” targets a rebound effort that will get him back into a title fight with the “Champion vs. Champion” winner.

“I’ve been a long way from that belt. I’m one fight from it today,” Oliveira told Ag Fight. “The UFC knows that, knows what I want. I didn’t come here to play, I came to make history. I want to fight there for the end of March, April, that’s my timing. I have to fight on that date. And I need a guy who, by winning, I’m definitely the next title challenger. Because he (Makhachev) will fight now in February. So, in March, April, picking up a guy who puts me back in the face of the title goal at the end of the year. Sure [just one more fight to the belt]. I fight now in March, April, and at the end of the year for the title again.”

Oliveira’s second round arm-triangle submission loss to Makhachev (watch highlights) snapped a thrilling 11-fight win streak. Had Volkanovski not been inserted into the 155-pound mix, Oliveira apparently had the opportunity for an instant rematch, but opted out as he needed more time.

The general consensus is that No. 4-ranked contender, Beneil Dariush, is the most deserving Lightweight at present for a title shot. With a “super” fight stalling Dariush’s goals, a pairing with Oliveira may be just what each needs to stake their claim.

“With Dariush, the same thing happened to me. Stayed long outside the Top 5, wanting the opportunity,” Oliveira said. “I understand why people don’t give this opportunity, they don’t want people to make the Top 5. Dariush comes from a huge winning streak, coming from the same school as me, Chute Boxe. But that’s how I talked to Diego [Lima], is this the fight that would put me straight in contention for the belt?”


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