The hunt for Oliveria’s next opponent is underway. However, there have been whispers of Oliveria vs. Makhachev going down on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi this October.
While most people believe Makhachev is next for the Brazilian, Diego Lima, head coach of Chute Boxe, and Oliveira’s head coach, thinks Makhachev needs a top-five win to really earn a shot.
“We know there aren’t many options for Charles. From that [list of challengers], he has faced them all. There’s no one left, you know? He’s faced [Tony] Ferguson, [Michael] Chandler, [Dustin] Poirier, [Justin] Gaethje, so there is no one else and it’s too early for a rematch with any one them,” Lima told Ag.Fight in a recent interview. “So, we know who’s there. There is [Conor] McGregor, [Beneil] Dariush and Makhachev. Dariush comes with many wins in a row, Makhachev comes with many wins in a row, McGregor comes from losses, okay.”
“But then you put in on a scale. I’m not belitting Makhachev. Makhachev is a monster, he’s a hell of a fighter – in striking, on the ground, I know that. But which top 5 fighter did he beat? See what Charles had to go through to get to the belt, what everyone had to do to get to the belt…Ferguson, even after 12 wins couldn’t get to the belt. So why should Makhachev achieve this?”
Lima recommended Makhachev fight a top contender like his student had to.
“Why don’t they throw him in the funnel [of challengers]? Why don’t they give him Chandler? Since the UFC likes Chandler so much, that they gave him a title shot after one fight,” Lima said. “Why don’t they give Gaethje to him? Why don’t they give him a top five opponent? Didn’t Charles need to go through Ferguson in an impressive way to get accredited? Why don’t they do the same with Makhachev?”
Lima makes a fair point comparing the paths between Oliveira and Makhachev, however, in the sport of MMA fair isn’t always right. We’ve seen the UFC give fighters title shots that make no sense or just because it is best of business.
In the same interview, Lima says there are currently no talks between Oliveira and the UFC for when he is set to return.