Charles Oliveira’s coach Diego Lima shared some strong oppinions recently.
Lima suggested that the Dagestani athlete should face at least a top 5 fighter before being eligible to have a title fight.
UFC lightweight belt has been vacated after the previous champion Charles Oliveira failed to make weight at UFC 274 back in May. After defeating Gaethje, Oliveira is set to fight over the vacant lightweight belt. The officials haven’t confirmed any names to take on Oliveira for the belt.
One of the potential opponents for Oliveira is the rising star Islam Makhachev.
Judging from lightweight top 5 rankings, only Makhachev hasn’t received a title shot. The 30-year-old is also undefeated since joining the UFC and has fought 12 times.
However, The biggest drawback of Makhachev is the fact that he’s barely competed against top ranked opponents. The only top 10 competitor he has faced was Dan Hooker.
While many fans are excited to see how the grappling masters are going to take on each other, Charles Oliveira’s coach Diego Lima questioned Makhachev’s legitimacy to have a title fight in a recent talk with Ag Fight.
Lima can understand that there aren’t many options for Oliveira to choose. However, Lima thinks it’s quite unfair.
“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 of them.”
“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.” Lima said.
Lima found it unfair if Islam Makhachev gets a title shot having only fought one top 10 contender. He compared it to Oliveira’s journey where he struggled before finally getting his title fight in May of last year.
“But then you put it on a scale. I’m not belittling 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 added.
Diego Lima also reflected on Tony Ferguson’s journey who had 12 straight victories in 2020 but only rewarded an interim title fight. Lima also talked about Chandler which irked him for having an instant title fight.
“throw him(Makhachev) 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. 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 added.
Lima made it clear that he is not against Makhachev fighting Oliveira, but rather questioning the championship system in the UFC. It seems like Lima is unaware that popularity played a big role in a fighters’ career.