Islam Makhachev says that the only reason Charles Oliveira agreed to challenge him for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 280 is because the UFC threatened to give the fight to Michael Chandler instead. Speaking on the DC and RC show the Russian accused the former champion of trying to duck him,
“This is embarrassing because he said ‘Islam has to fight one more time’ or something like this. But UFC told him, ‘Hey if you do not take this fight, we’re going to give the chance to Michael Chandler’. That’s why he took this fight.”
Makhachev has had to wait longer than he would have liked for his title shot. He admits that the Brazilian is ‘very good’ but says it is also embarrassing to hear Oliveira talk about potentially fighting Conor McGregor or Nate Diaz,
“Charles is very good, he has a good win streak, he beat a lot of tough opponents but for me it’s embarrassing when the UFC lightweight champion asks for someone like Nate Diaz or Conor McGregor who won like five years ago. Nobody remembers when these guys (last) won some fights.”
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Signed and sealed
The bout between them will have the lightweight title on the line and headlines UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi. They are clearly the two best fighters in the division and Oliveira is riding an 11 fight winning streak while Makhachev has won his last ten.
Oliveira has accused Makhachev of arrogance although it is unclear if this was aimed at the fighter or his manager. The Russian has fired back and accuses the former champion of going to great lengths to try and avoid fighting him,
“He tried to call (for) Diaz, McGregor but he forgets my name and when they ask about me he says he needs money or something like this. When he fights with Dustin (Poirier) or Justin Gaethje he doesn’t think about money (but) now when he says he has to fight Islam he either tries to say, ‘I want to fight in Brazil’ or ‘I want to fight in the end of this year’ or ‘I need some money’.”
The UFC clearly did come to terms with Oliveira because the fight is signed, sealed and set for the Etihad Arena on October 22nd. If the date and location were not convenient for the Brazilian, as Makhachev suggests, it didn’t stop him from accepting the bout.
The two men will headline one of the biggest UFC cards of the year. And if there wasn’t any bad blood between them before, there definitely is now after both went back and forth in interviews this month.