Despite initial interest from his protégé, Islam Makhachev in securing an October title fight against Charles Oliveira in Abu Dhabi, UAE – former champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov appears receptive to the idea of a Brazil homecoming for Oliveira in a title offing with Makhachev now instead.
Charles Oliveira, the former undisputed lightweight champion, was slated to attempt his second defense of the undisputed crown earlier this month against former interim titleholder, Justin Gaethje at UFC 274, however, was stripped of his title due to a weight-cut mishap, going on to eventually submit Gaethje with a first round rear-naked choke nonetheless.
The lightweight title was, however, vacated due to Oliveira’s weight miss – with the Sao Paulo native immediately linked to a host of fights in another vacant title outing, including former two-weight champion, Conor McGregor, as well as past opponent, Michael Chandler, however, the aforenoted, Makhachev – to the consensus, at least, is the most deserving title challenger.
Speculation began to mount regarding a ‘Fight Island’ matchup between the two for undisputed gold in October, however, Oliveira’s head coach, Diego Lima, instead suggested his student should finally land a Brazil return for the first time since March 2020.
“Why is Khabib (Nurmagomedov) talking about (Islam) Makhachev in Abu Dhabi?” Diego Lima told Brazilian outlet, Ag Fight. “We would like Charles (Oliveira) fighting in Brazil. Come fight with us in Brazil. I think Charles deserves to fight in front of his nation.”
Welcoming that idea, Khabib urged Lima to land the fight in South America – claiming Makhachev would dominate his student, Oliveira.
“No problem,” Khabib Nurmagomedov told ESPN MMA regarding a trip to Brazil. “Send us location. We gonna come to Brazil. Islam gonna ride Charles Oliveira like his horse. We gonna take this belt. We gonna show them if sambo was easy, it would be called Jiu-Jitsu.”
“Coach Diego (Lima), be real, you know this is most interesting fight in lightweight division,” Khabib Nurmagomedov posted on his Instagram. “Both so good today. Just let them fight anywhere in the world. Let’s promote this fight. Only respect but we are confident in our abilities. Brazil, we are coming.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov recently questioned the grappling prowess of Charles Oliveira
Khabib recently poked fun at the professional record of the aforenoted, Oliveira, questioning how he could be considered an elite grappler given his prior submission losses under the UFC banner.