UFC Bullied Action Star for Main Event Title Fight

Dana White, UFC

Getty UFC President Dana White attends a news conference for the bout between boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.

UFC top-ranked lightweight contender Islam Makhachev revealed that Charles Oliveira was trying to avoid taking a fight against him.

After losing his belt on the weighing scales in May, the uncrowned champion Oliveira was determined to get another shot at the title. His win over Justin Gaethje earned him the top contender spot, with company president Dana White promising him an outing for the vacant strap next.

Currently, on a 10-fight win streak, Makhachev will face a top-five ranked opponent for the first time in his UFC career. He received the opportunity after months of former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov rallying for his protege. Makhachev has looked dominant in his run and finished both of his last two opponents in the first round.

Oliveira will take on Makhachev in the headlining bout of UFC 280 on Oct. 22 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. However, there was a chance that we could have missed out on the highly-anticipated upcoming showdown.

In an appearance on ESPN MMA’s “DC & RC” show, Makhachev shared that Oliveira did not initially want to book the fight and offered a number of reasons to avoid it until the promotion had enough and strongarmed him into accepting the offer. The UFC had plans to get Michael Chandler ready as an alternative in the case Oliveira declined.

“He said, ‘Islam has to fight one more time,’ or something like this,” he said (ht MMA Junkie). “But the UFC told him, ‘Hey, if you (don’t) take this fight, we’re going to give some chance to Michael Chandler.’ That’s why he take this fight.”


Makhachev Bashed Oliveira for Trying To Fight Conor McGregor

Oliveira had expressed interest in welcoming back former UFC two-division champion Conor McGregor, who has been on the sidelines in recovery from a horrific leg break injury suffered in his last outing against Dustin Poirier in July last year. Makhachev believes that the 32-year-old Brazilian is avoiding him, given that he accepted the fights against Poirier and Gaethje.

Makhachev called out “do Bronx” for trying to secure a bout with opponents who are on a losing streak.

“For me, this is embarrassing when UFC lightweight champion asks (for) someone like Nate Diaz or Conor McGregor,” Makhachev said. “Conor McGregor, who won five years ago – nobody remembers when these guys win some fights. He tried to go Diaz or McGregor, but he forgot my name.

“And when they asked about me, he said he needs money or something like this, but when he fought Dustin (Poirier) or Justin Gaethje, he didn’t think about money.”


Makhachev Is the Betting Favorite

When the fight was announced, it was a bit of a surprise to see Makhachev open as the betting favorite over Oliveira. As good as Makhachev is, he has not previously faced any opponent that was ranked in the top five of the division.

The 30-year-old Dagestani is renowned for his grappling abilities and racks up insane numbers in his showings which justify the betting line to some degree.

Meanwhile, Oliveira has fought and beat multiple top contenders in his run at the top. He’s riding a seven-fight win streak, having finished six of those opponents with a sole decision victory coming over Tony Ferguson.

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