Ahead of his upcoming Octagon return this weekend in the co-main event of UFC 289, former lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira has claimed ex-two-weight champion, Conor McGregor has been “avoiding” a fight with him, however, he is still plotting a bout with the Dubliner.

Oliveira, the current #1 ranked lightweight contender, has been sidelined since suffering a second round arm-triangle submission loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC 280 last October – seeing his division-best 12-fight winning run halted in the pair’s vacant lightweight title fight.

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As for McGregor, the Crumlin native has been sidelined since he fractured his left tibia and fibula in a first round doctor’s stoppage TKO loss against common-foe and former interim champion, Dustin Poirier.

Charles Oliveira still chasing fight with ex-UFC champion, Conor McGregor

Slated to return beneath a bantamweight title fight featuring his compatriot, Amanda Nunes and challenger, Irene Aldana at UFC 289 this weekend in Vancouver, Oliveira, the promotion’s most prolific finisher and submission artist, has touched on a future fight with former two-weight gold holder, McGregor.

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“Everyone knows that Conor (McGregor) is avoiding me,” Charles Oliveira told Sports Illustrated ahead of UFC 289. “His fight against (Michael) Chandler will be great, but everyone can tell he is avoiding me. Personally, I think Chandler will win.”

“Conor is very strategic,” Charles Oliveira explained through his translator. “And he can fight. But he won’t fight me.” 

Without a victory since May of last year, Sao Paulo native, Oliveira – who shares the Octagon with Beneil Dariush this weekend, most recently landed a first round rear-naked choke submission win against former interim champion, Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 in Phoenix, Arizona. 

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Oliveira minted himself as the lightweight champion back in 2021, securing the vacant crown with a rallying second round KO win over the above-mentioned, Chandler.