Brazilian UFC king tells Khabib to ‘stop talking crap’
Former UFC lightweight king Charles Oliveira has criticized fellow 155lbs great Khabib Nurmagomedov for talking "crap" about him as the Russian pushes for a fight between the Brazilian and his charge Islam Makhachev.
Oliveira was stripped of the lightweight title on the scales before UFC 274 last month but then became the number one contender for the belt again after beating Justin Gaethje via a first-round rear-naked choke submission.
Interviewed by BT Sport backstage at UFC 276 in Las Vegas at the weekend, Oliveira was asked for his thoughts on Nurmagomedov's legacy, which saw him the Russian retire on 29-0 after also submitting Gaethje in late 2020, plus the Dagestani's recent induction to the Hall of Fame.
"He very much deserves to be in the Hall of Fame," said Oliveira. "I just think that at the time when he was champion the guy didn't talk that much crap.
"And now he does, he says a lot of things. He keeps saying I'll lose to this one and that one. So I think he should keep his mouth shut a bit more and stay a bit quieter rather than talking crap," Oliveira suggested.
Told by BT that they spoke to Nurmagomedov recently and that he insisted he didn't intend to "diss" the Brazilian and merely wants Makhachev to get his shot, Oliveira reiterated his point.
"Like I've said he's a guy that deserves all the respect in the world. A guy that spent his whole time fighting without saying anything. But he wants this fight so much that he's talking crap.
"I respect all of them. This fight will happen at one time or another, but I don't think it's the right moment. I don't think he [Makhachev] deserves the fight directly for the title and the champion's name is Charles Oliveira and I'm here," the Sao Paulo state native stressed.
Probed on who his preferred opponent is, Oliveira stated that he wants to get back and defend "my belt" and face a man he has already called out in Conor McGregor.
"But we have nothing made," Oliveira admitted. "The most important thing is that everyone knows that the champion is called Charles Oliveira," he drove home once more.
On facing Makhachev for the vacant strap if McGregor still isn't ready to come back following a horror leg break suffered against Dustin Poirier last year, Oliveira noted: "The UFC wants this. Islam Makhachev wants this. Khabib's talking a lot".
"Like I say, if they want this fight so much, make them to put a lot of money in my account. It's not there," Oliveira concluded.
Such is the desire of Makhachev to take on Oliveira for the championship, however, he has publicly stated he is prepared to travel to Brazil if need be.
The Neo Quimica Arena in Sao Paulo, which is home to Oliveira's favorite football team Corinthians and holds up to 49,000 on matchday while having also hosted 2014 World Cup matches, has been touted as a possible venue.
If the fight is made there, the stadium could rival the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba as the record-holder for the highest attended UFC show in MMA-mad Brazil.
At UFC 198 in May 2016, 45,207 spectators saw Stipe Miocic knockout local favorite Fabricio Werdum to become heavyweight champion for the first time.