Recently Defeated UFC Champion Turned Down Title Rematch

UFC, Charles Oliveira

Getty The UFC Heavyweight title belt.

Former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira could have fought for the title against Islam Makhachev again.

The 155-pound top contender is coming off a loss to reigning champion Makhachev in his last outing at UFC 280 last month. He went into the bout looking to reclaim the title he lost on the scales in May when he came in half a pound over the limit against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274.

Makhachev put in a dominant performance and handily dispatched Oliveira with an arm-triangle choke in the second round. He snapped Oliveira’s 11-fight win streak to become the new titleholder.

Following the match, current featherweight champion and pound-for-pound king Alexander Volkanovski made his way to the octagon to set up a clash between the two champions. However, there were also talks of a potential rematch with Oliveira.

Oliveira’s Camp Turned Down Rematch With Makhachev

In an interview with Super Lutas, Oliveira’s coach and manager, Diego Lima revealed that the UFC offered them an immediate title rematch for the upcoming January card of UFC 283 in Brazil.

“When we were going to face Makhachev,” Lima said (transcribed by Bloody Elbow). “We showed a lot of interest in fighting him in Rio. One week after [UFC 280], the UFC got in touch with us. They gave us the opportunity to fight [Makhachev] in Rio. They have always been really good to us. We have really good talks. It was up to us to accept or not.

“I talked it over with Charles. He’s not injured, but there’s an emotional stress. It’s way beyond physical. Charles is the only fighter that has faced all the top 5 guys within a year.

“Champs normally hide, they want to fight once a year. That’s not Charles, but Rio is way too close now. We prefer to give Charles a well-deserved vacation.”

Makhachev Is Targeting the Pound-for-Pound #1 Spot

With a commanding win over Oliveira, Makhachev leapfrogged the list of pound-for-pound contenders to get third place. Former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya’s recent loss to Alex Pereira promoted him to the second spot.

According to Makhachev’s coach Javier Mendez of AKA (American Kickboxing Academy), his entry as the second highest may not be justified. He laid out the path for Makhachev to cement himself as the top dog that begins with Volkanovski.

“Look, you know this just as much as I do, Islam went to No. 2 spot pound-for-pound in the UFC in just one fight? How?,” Mendez told MMA Junkie in Spanish. “I know he’s good, and I believe he’s No. 1. I do believe that. But to give him that spot of No. 2 pound-for-pound in just one fight, no. I know in my heart with time he’ll be No. 1. Simple as that. He’s going to be No. 1. But they gave him this just because of one fight. No, I don’t like that. It was done too quickly.”

“He’s the man, but he needs to do more,” Mendez said. “That’s what I believe. He needs to beat Volkanovski, then Dariush. He needs to beat those guys, so you can say he’s No. 1.

“Look at what Volkanovski is doing. He mopped the floor with all the challengers that are in his weight class. Everyone. He cleared them all out. Islam needs to clear everyone out. Again, I feel he’s No. 1, but in order to get that you need to finish everyone, that’s how it works. That’s how I think.”

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