UFC fans are elated to see Brazil’s Charles Oliviera succeed Khabib Nurmagomedov as the UFC lightweight champion, but does that make him better than his Dagestani predecessor?
Oliviera, who has been part of the UFC for over a decade, got to wear the lightweight strap for the first time in his career. He thumped newcomer Michael Chandler at UFC 262 in the second round to make history.
The Brazilian star won the Performance of the Night bonus of $75,000 for his KO finish and shut his critics in the process. Oliviera’s comeback into the fight shocked several MMA experts.
He had a disastrous first round against the American martial artist who almost knocked him out in the opening minutes of the main event. But a strong chin and ample determination somehow got Oliviera through the first-round test.
Chandler got him with a deep guillotine and a barrage of punches, but Oliviera survived everything thrown at him. Everything changed in the second round, Oliviera came out strongly and caught Chandler when the latter posed after a punch.
The new lightweight champ did not hold himself back from expressing his joy after Bruce Buffer announced his win and Dana White wrapped the title around his waist.
CHARLES OLIVIERA IS A WORLD CHAMP! 10 years mann, fully deserve that belt! pic.twitter.com/nc6tlU3GFH
— steveaustin (@derosiveLui) May 16, 2021
This has got the UFC community in a frenzy as they feel like a match-up between Do Bronx and Khabib Nurmagomedov would be worth watching.
I know, I know … but Charles Oliveira vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov would have been fun.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 16, 2021
Both fighters are known for their exquisite grappling skills and strong, technical ground game.
Khabib’s friend and UFC Welterweight Champion, Kamaru Usman, has downplayed any possibility of his return.
In a recent interview with TMZ, the Nigerian Nightmare revealed that Khabib must have been impressed with Oliviera’s performance, but that would not entice him to withdraw his retirement.
“I think Khabib did watch the fight. Was he intrigued? ‘Yes, I wanna get back in there.’ Probably not. I mean, he’s a man that’s happy. He’s happy with his life. He’s happy with the direction that it’s going and yeah, I think he’s retired,” Usman remarked.
Even if Khabib had taken on Do Bronz, there’s very little chance that the new champ could have overwhelmed his Russian counterpart. This is primarily because of Khabib’s dominance throughout his pro MMA career, not just in UFC.
The Russian superstar lost only one round in his entire UFC career, let alone a fight. The 29-0 undefeated streak remained the way it is because Khabib is the maestro when it comes to grappling.
While Oliviera is pleasing on the eye with his submissions, Khabib has more gas in the tank and more effective with his wrestling.
Not to take any credit away from Oliviera, Khabib has never shown any signs of struggle in any fight. He has taken on the likes of Edson Barboza, Anthony Johnson, Justin Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor and defeated them all with sheer ease and confidence.
Oliviera has been a class apart, but he’s just not as perfect as Khabib when the fight goes down to the canvas.