Demian Maia has stated that Charles Oliveira is the exact type of fighter to have success against the wrestling prowess of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev.
Khabib Nurmagomedov retired in 2020 with an incredible 29-0 record, having dominated the UFC lightweight division, claiming and defending the title in the process. Now his protege, Islam Makhahchev, looks set to replicate his success in the 155lb division.
However, Demian Maia, a UFC veteran and BJJ savant, has stated that there is a new player in the game who will bar Makhachev’s ascent to lightweight championship status. That man being Charles Oliviera, the current No.1 contender in the division. ‘Do Bronx’ is essentially the champion, but had his belt stripped after missing weight for his title defense bout against Justin Gaethje.
Charles Oliveira still defeated Gaethje in emphatic fashion, submitting ‘The Highlight’ in the first round. ‘Do Bronx’ now searches for his next opponent, with a vacant title bout needed to establish the new (or old) champion. That man may well be Islam Makhachev, who is on an incredible run of form.
Speaking on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca, Demian Maia made the case for Charles Oliveira having the skillset to take on the likes of both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev.
“If there’s a man to beat that type of fighter, it’s Charles, because Charles has [a good] guard [game],” stated Maia. “You have to have [a good] guard to beat someone like that, enough guard to at least survive but also be offensive, to be dangerous there. Charles has that. Charles is a dangerous fight for that type of fighter. Not to mention he’s dangerous as hell on the feet.” (H/T MMAFighting).
Maia also remarked that if he were a betting man, he would put his money on Charles Oliveira to defeat Islam Makhachev: “I would put [my money]” on Oliveira to win if he gets paired up against Makhachev next. I’m not a betting guy, but I would.”