While #3 ranked UFC lightweight contender, Charles Oliveira continues to campaign for a vacant title matchup against recent UFC 257 winner, Dustin Poirier — the UFC seem to have alternative plans for the surging Sao Paulo submission specialist.

According to a report tonight from Brazilian outlet, Ag Fight, following the cancellation of a co-headlining rematch between former middleweight champion, Chris Weidman and TUF 16 runner-up, Uriah Hall — the promotion attempted to put together a lightweight pairing of Oliveira and recent debutante, Michael Chandler at the February 13 event in a co-headlining slot.

The report further detailed how Diego Lima Chute Boxe standout, Oliveira and his team had rejected the possibility to match with Chandler in a short-notice pairing, as he attempts to zone in on a so-far elluding title tilt under the UFC’s banner. 

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Speaking following UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi, UAE — promotional leader, Dana White suggested a vacant title bout between the above mentioned, Poirier and co-headlining winner, Chandler, claiming the fighting future of incumbent best, Khabib Nurmagomedov wasn’t looking particularly promising. 

While Chandler occupies the #4 rank in the official 155-pound pile, one slot below Oliveira, following his stunning first-round knockout win over Dan Hooker at the January 23 event, he called for both Poirier and former two-weight world champion, Conor McGregor — as well as issuing a come and get it plea to Nurmagomedov.

With Oliveira’s rejection of the floated pairing, it solidifies his claims that a title opportunity should be next for the UFC’s most prolific grappler — who is coming off two standout performances against both Kevin Lee and former interim titleholder, Tony Ferguson just last year.

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The timing regarding the promotion’s plans to book Oliveira against Chandler is also quite interesting it must be said.
Following his knockout win over two-time foe, McGregor at the Etihad Arena, Poirier declared he would be interested in a rubber-match against the Dubliner next, as well as a previously booked clash with Nate Diaz, having failed to ever share the Octagon with the Stockton native after he had suffered a hip injury. 

When asked for his thoughts on a possible matchup against Chandler recently, Poirier remained rather coy, detailing how he would have no issue sitting on the sidelines while the division played out, if the UFC wanted to feature Chandler against Oliveira instead

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I want to be the world champion, and Charles (Oliveria) is a guy that’s paid his dues,” Poirier said. “He’s earned where he’s at, no doubt about it. Let him and (Michael) Chandler fight for the belt. If they (the UFC) want Chandler in there for the title, and he’s calling for the title. Let them fight for the belt. I’ll take a step back and just watch.