At UFC 262 last Saturday night, Charles Oliveira finally reached the top of the mountain.
‘Do Bronx’ knocked Michael Chandler out to capture the UFC lightweight title, capping an incredible 28-fight run that marks the longest road any fighter has ever taken to claim a UFC belt.
The 31-year-old has the mixed martial arts world wondering at what might come next following his emphatic win, so we’ve taken a look at five potential routes – some admittedly more likely than others.
The boxing of Poirier vs the ground game of Oliveira? Sign us up.
‘The Diamond’ is viewed as the uncrowned champion in the eyes of many and if he’s able to get past McGregor in their trilogy, this has the potential to be one of the best lightweight fights in recent memory.
Love him or hate him, Conor McGregor loves to challenge himself.
‘The Notorious’ is desperate to get back to his best at 155 pounds but the Eddie Alvarez win is starting to feel like a very, very distant memory. Still, if he can get to another title shot, Oliveira will give as good as he gets.
What do you do with a wrestler who nobody wants to face? Put him against a guy who isn’t afraid of anyone.
Islam Makhachev is the dark horse of the division and Charles Oliveira has already stated in the past that he’d have no problem locking horns with him. Now, with a title on the line, we think this clash could be even greater than we first thought.
An immediate title shot may be a stretch, but Oliveira vs Gaethje would be absolute fireworks from beginning to end.
‘The Highlight’ just doesn’t stop searching for the finish and now that he’s so calculated with his attacks, Oliveira would have to be unbelievably careful with every decision he makes in a “don’t blink” showdown.
Khabib Nurmagomedov seems content with retiring at 29-0 – but could Oliveira be the man to tempt him out of retirement in search of that elusive 30th win?
His submission game, combined with his improved striking, would test Khabib in a way that we don’t think we’ve ever seen before. On that basis alone, we’re choosing to believe this is a legitimate possibility. Even if it might not be.
Featured image credit: Getty