Brazilian superstar Charles Oliveira could take on Conor McGregor in his homeland after he pulled off a miraculous turnaround to win the vacant UFC lightweight title in Texas against Michael Chandler.
After Oliveira secured an early second round knockout to win the belt left vacant following the retirement of the great Khabib Nurmagomedov, McGregor tweeted: “Congrats to Olivera on becoming the 11th UFC lightweight champion. Wonder who Twelve is…”
Of course that is a nod to McGregor’s very own Proper Twelve whiskey, but the Irishman clearly has his sights set on regaining his lightweight crown. However, first he must gain revenge on Dustin Poirier, the man who beat him in January as they play out their rematch at UFC 264 - something Oliveira was keen to point out after his title win.
“Conor, worry about Dustin,” Oliveira told reporters gathered at the post-fight press conference. “Conor, since you’re so tough: First of all, you beat Dustin, and then you come over to Brazil and I’m going to put you on your ass. First he’s got to get past Dustin. He’s one of these guys that just talks a lot. He’s got to beat Dustin first.”
It was a remarkable night for the Brazilian who recovered spectacularly when it looked like the writing was on the wall for the 35-year-old former Bellator champion, as he was pinned down by the American’s guillotine choke attempt in round one. He managed to escape that attempt intact and then bounced back to land a series of key strikes as the round ended. The end of round break only benefited one fighter, as Oliveira caught Chandler with a left hook, before landing several blows which forced Dan Miragliotta to step in just 19 seconds into the second round.
That marked his ninth straight victory and after raising the lightweight belt in the octagon he boasted: "I wanted to come here and show that I'm the best in this division...I'm proving to everybody I'm the lion of lions."
Meanwhile, in the co-main event, Beneil Dariush threw his name into the ring to face Oliveira with a brilliant performance against former interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson.
However, Conor McGregor is still the big draw in the UFC and if he gets past Poirier, we could see a mega-fight between him and the newly crowned lightweight champion, with a Brazilian crowd roaring on their hometown hero. What a performance from Oliveira, but what comes next could be even more spectacular.