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16th May 2021

Conor McGregor sends message to new UFC lightweight champion

Patrick McCarry

Charles Oliveira

We could get ourselves a barnstormer in Brazil before the year is out.

After 28 fights with, and 11 years in, the UFC, Charles Oliveira is the lightweight champion.

‘Do Bronx’ survived an almighty onslaught from Michael Chandler in the opening round as both men battled for the belt vacated by the retired Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Chandler, a former Bellator champion, twice dropped Oliveira in the first round and had the better of the ground exchanges too. The round ended with the Brazilian clinging on for dear life and saved by the bell.

With praise from the UFC 262 commentators still ringing in his ears, Chandler went out to close down Oliveira at the beginning of the second round. Both men met in the centre of the Octagon and let the fists fly, but it was an Oliveira left hook that did the damage.

Chandler back-pedalled against the fence and ate two right-hand pings as he tried to get out of dodge. Oliveira was hot on his heels, though, and another crunching left effectively ended the contest. He unloaded another couple of punches as referee Dan Miragliotta sprung in to award him the TKO victory.

After his TKO loss to Paul Felder in 2017, Oliveira fell to 22-8 in a professional career he started at the age of just 19, back in 2008. Since then, he has been on a tear.

Wins over Clay Guida, Jim Miller and Nik Lentz put him into the Top 10 and, once there, he started to collect big-time scalps. There was a submission win over Kevin Lee and a dominant decision awarded to him against Tony Ferguson. Chandler was up next and it was for all the marbles.

Oliveira is set to face the winner of the Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor trilogy match, this July, and both men gave their take on the 31-year-old’s win.

With Poirier’s message being pretty much cut and dry, the media at the post UFC 262 press conference ran the McGregor tease by the newly crowned champion.

“Conor, worry about Dustin,” Charles Oliveira responded.

“Conor, since you’re so tough – First of all, you beat Dustin, and then you come over to Brazil and I’m going to put you on your ass.

“First he’s got to get past Dustin. He’s one of these guys that just talks a lot. He’s got to beat Dustin first.”

McGregor has spoken, and tweeted, in the past about the challenge of fighting in Brazil.

Back in 2019, as a UFC event unfolded in Brazil, McGregor declared, ‘What an amazing atmosphere at UFC Brazil tonight. I would LOVE to compete there for all the passionate Brazilian fans at some stage of my career.

‘I was so close to securing a bout in Rio last year. It was essentially a done deal. Maybe next time. Ui Vai Morrer!!!! I’m still here.’

Two years on and McGregor is still here. So is the new UFC lightweight champion, Charles ‘Do Bronx’ Oliveira.