Charles Oliveira favours a fight with Conor McGregor over Justin Gaethje

  • Tom Ward
Charles Oliveira would prefer to fight Conor McGregor instead of Justin Gaethje

UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira admits he’d let Conor McGregor jump the queue ahead of Justin Gaethje as ‘only a fool’ would say otherwise. 

The Brazilian, 31, forced Dustin Poirier to submit following a rear-naked choke in the third round of the main event of UFC 269 in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, McGregor is reportedly well ‘ahead of schedule‘ in his recovery from the broken leg he suffered at UFC 264 in his trilogy fight with The Diamond in July, according to his manager Audie Attar. 

Despite his loss to Poirier, and the fact he hasn’t won a fight for now well over a year, the Irishman is still the biggest PPV draw in the sport today – a fact which isn’t lost on Oliveira, who hopes to cash in on their recent Twitter spat.

“If I had the chance [in the past] to fight for the belt or fight Conor, everybody knows I’d fight for the belt,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting‘s MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.

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“That already happened, I’m the champion now. The champion has a name and his name is Charles Oliveira, Charles ‘do Bronx.’

“If I had the chance to fight Conor for money today, I would. The belt is mine and continues being mine. We’ll continue building our legacy and making history.”

Charles Oliveira would prefer a fight with Conor McGregor over Justin Gaethje

The 31-year-old is adamant that regardless, he will let the UFC decide his next course of action – but prefers to face ‘The Notorious’ as the financial incentive is almost impossible to resist. 

He added: “Of course, no one’s a fool. ‘No, I’ll fight someone else because of the belt, leave Conor alone’ – who’s going to do that? Only a fool.

“If I had the opportunity to fight Conor, I would definitely fight Conor. The belt is mine regardless. The division has to get by and wait a little bit.

“There’s nothing else to do. We have to think about our families, our children, think about what we can do down the line.”

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However, UFC president Dana White has indicated Oliveira will defend his lightweight title against Gaethje next, despite his obvious interest in fighting McGregor.  

The American has repeatedly labelled the Brazilian a ‘quitter’, essentially accusing him of lacking the heart and courage that is required of a champion, but White refused to believe a word of it.   

Speaking at the press conference, he said: “I never heard any of that stuff. You’ve got to stay off the f—— internet. I always thought he was a tough guy.

“He’s had some bumps along the way, same thing with Poirier, but like I said at the press conference the other day they’re two blue-collar, hard-working guys that have grinded their way to the top and he went in tonight and beat Dustin.

“And Dustin is a very, very tough, durable, well-rounded guy who has had a ton of experience and it was a big night for Oliveira.”

READ MORE: Georges St-Pierre: UFC legend reveals ‘toughest opponent’ he ever faced during MMA career

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