Islam Makhachev claims Charles Oliveira was forced to take UFC 280 fight, Michael Chandler poised to step in

Islam Makhachev, Charles Oliveira, Michael Chandler
Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

Islam Makhachev will face Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight belt on Oct.22 at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi. The native of Dagestan has stated Oliveira was forced to take the fight, otherwise, Michael Chandler would have been given the shot. 

During an appearance on ESPN’s “DC&RC”, the 30-year-old revealed that the UFC gave Oliveira an ultimatum. The Brazilian native would fight Makhachev for the interim belt or Chandler would get the opportunity. Makhachev says that’s the only reason Oliveira accepted the fight. 

“He said, ‘Islam has to fight one more time,’ or something like this but UFC tell him, ‘Hey, if you don’t take this fight, we’re going to give a chance to Michael Chandler. That’s why he take this fight,” Makhachev said. 

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Oliveira was stripped of his lightweight title due to missing weight ahead of his UFC 274 matchup against Justin Gaethje. The 32-year-old earned a submission win to extend his win streak to 11.

Post-fight, Oliveira expressed interest in making history. He called for fights against Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz on the same night. 

Islam Makhachev didn’t take too kindly to Oliveira’s proposal

With a long win streak of his own, Makhachev believes he’s the true No.1 contender. 

“For me, this is embarrassing when UFC lightweight champion asks [for] someone like Nate Diaz or Conor McGregor, who won like five years ago. Nobody remembers when these guys won some fights,” Makhachev said. “He tried to call [out] Diaz and McGregor but he forgot my name. When they asked about me, he say ‘I need money’ or something like this but when he fought Dustin [Poirier] or Justin Gaethje, he didn’t think about money.” 

Oliveira has a 33-8 record in MMA. His last four wins have come against Justin Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler and Tony Ferguson. He has earned finishes in 10 of his last 11 fights. 

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Makhachev (22-1) has climbed the ranks of the lightweight division since his UFC debut in 2015. He has won 11 of his last 12 fights. The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) pupil has picked up wins over Bobby Green, Dan Hooker, Thiago Moisés, and Drew Dober. 

Makhachev is looking to become AKA’s next champion. Fighters like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez and Luke Rockhold have trained at the San Jose gym and achieved their dream of claiming UFC gold. Oliveira will undoubtedly be the biggest test in Makhachev’s career to date. The winner will have bragging rights and become the undisputed king of the 155lb division.

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Marc Ray has lived his entire life in Houston, Texas, where he was born, raised and attended the University of Houston, studying broadcast journalism. As you may imagine, he spends much of his time watching mixed martial arts as part of his daily routine — not only to pump himself up, but also because he deeply enjoys the sport. Ray has worked for Houston Public Media, where he interned in the newsroom and produced community stories. Ray also created sports features in Houston for El Gato Media Network and occasionally produced content for an internship at AARP.