It’s all but certain that Conor McGregor is done competing at 155 pounds, and that’s because he’s running from the one and only Charles Oliveira.
So sayeth “Do Bronx” in a new interview with Sports Illustrated as he prepares to make a run for his former Lightweight title at UFC 289 this weekend (Sat., June 10, 2023) in Vancouver, Canada. Oliveira faces the surging Beneil Dariush in what is looking like a No. 1 contender title eliminator match for both men.
“Everyone knows that Conor is avoiding me,” Oliveira said when asked about McGregor. “His fight against [Michael] Chandler will be great, but everyone can tell he is avoiding me. Personally, I think Chandler will win.”
At one point, Oliveira claimed he was willing to wait up to one year before returning if that meant fighting McGregor. But, he gave up on that hope.
“Conor is very strategic, and he can fight,” he said. “But, he won’t fight me.”
There’s no date or weight class set for the Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler fight, but answers have been promised sometime during their season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 31 currently in progress. When the two met, McGregor joked they’d fight at Middleweight before saying he was the one deciding the weight class.
Back down at Lightweight, Oliveira has found a new focus after losing the 155-pound title to Islam Makhachev back in Nov. 2023 (watch highlights).
“I’m not the champ anymore,” Oliveira said. “That changes everything. I’m waking up early, I’m staying up late thinking about getting my belt back. It’s always on my mind. Getting the belt back, that’s my focus. That’s my goal. With a good performance on Saturday, I’ll be fighting for the title.”
He’ll be fighting a very game Dariush, who is sure he’ll be able to dominate Oliveira on the ground. That’s quite the theory given how deadly “Do Bronx” is with submissions.
“Dariush is a great fighter,” Oliveira said. “He’s one of the best in the world. If he thinks he will dominate me, he is wrong. I will be the one leaving with my hand raised.”
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 289 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 289: “Nunes vs. Aldana” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.