Charles Oliveira has spoken. After his coach and manager spoke out last week saying that they would prefer to not fight in Abu Dhabi due to the way an MMA fight between Ulanbekov and Nascimento was judged, Oliveira all but confirmed.
“If I must choose, it’d be Conor McGregor, as the guy who is putting the money in my bank account,” Oliveira said, at UFC X. “If I’m going to choose, I’m going to choose Conor McGregor.”
“The story with Conor has always been like that,” Oliveira said. “It was the same thing with Dustin Poirier. He always cuts the line and everyone knows that (happens) when Conor is on. He cuts the line. I think I deserve to choose and I’m choosing Conor because of everything I’ve done to make some money for my family and for everything. If I’m going to choose, I’m choosing Conor.”
The manager reiterated last week:
“Look at everything Charles did, look at the history of him. Why not let Charles fight wherever he wants? Why not give us the opportunity to (fight in) Brazil?”
“‘Ah, but it has to be a neutral place.’ Okay, let’s go to New York. If it was McGregor, we would fight in Ireland. Because McGregor also made history.”
“Now, why go to Abu Dhabi in October? Much earlier than we are used to fighting, two months earlier. Some other time, which is not Charles’s time. Charles doesn’t want to (fight in Abu Dhabi). And I, as Charles’s coach, totally agree with him.”
Meanwhile Khabib Nurmagomedov insisted he won’t be unretiring even if Oliveira were to defeat Makhachev.
After challenging Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz to fight, Makhachev accused Oliveira of “ducking him.” The Russian has offered that his vacant championship fight with Oliviera take place at UFC 281 in Abu Dhabi.
Khabib responded, “If he [Oliveira] beats Islam, of course I’m going to feel bad. Of course I’m going to feel bad, but there’s no way people can talk about, ‘How you’re going to come back?’ Please leave me alone, let these guys fight,” he told ESPN MMA.
“This is different time, different fighters now, they’re prime time and we have to understand who’s the best lightweight in the world right now between Charles and Islam.”
Oliveira’s coach has claimed that he wants to see Oliveira reclaim his title in Brazil.