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Charles Oliveira not ‘afraid’ of Khabib Nurmagomedov, welcomes future fight

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With six straight wins in the UFC, Charles Oliveira is ready for a step up in competition.

On Saturday night in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Oliveira earned his 15th post-fight performance bonus when he landed a pair of punches that finished Jared Gordon less than 90 seconds into the opening round.

Afterward, the 30-year-old Brazilian, who’s rarely called out opponents, uncharacteristically turned his attention towards matchups that interested him. Rather than sit back and accept his next booking, Oliveira took fate into his own hands and told the UFC want he wants.

“I came here to fight, and now, I’m calling out some names,” Oliveira said at the post-fight press conference. “My coach is going to see what’s best. I want to fight on the last card of the year. I didn’t [take] any punches. I’m 100 percent.

“It can be Conor McGregor, (or) it could be Paul Felder.”

While it seems highly unlikely that the UFC would give Oliveira a fight against either McGregor or Felder on the UFC’s final 2019 card in Busan, South Korea, it’s clear Oliveira is ready to face a higher level of competition in the stacked lightweight division.

The fight with McGregor obviously would be huge, but a potential rematch with Felder would give Oliveira the chance to avenge his most recent loss.

The end goal, Oliveira said, is to eventually reach reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He not only welcomes that fight, but he actually believes he holds distinct advantages over the undefeated Russian.

“Everyone’s talking about Khabib,” Oliveira stated. “I’m better than him standing up. If it goes to the ground, I’m not going to be afraid of him.”

Oliveira’s confidence didn’t just start with this latest win. But he’s learning to be more vocal about celebrating his accomplishments – and showing no fear when asking for his next fight.

“Do Bronx” has long term goals for his career, and the only way he’s going to get there will be against opponents like McGregor, Felder and Nurmagomedov.

“Sometimes I don’t want to talk about it too much, but sometimes people think that I’m full of myself when I talk,” Oliveira explained. “I’m still the same guy that came from the favela. I still have my feet on the ground. I want to be the guy that came in and has the records for submissions, knockouts, bonuses, I want to be in the ‘Hall of Fame.’

“I want to see in a few years what happened to (Mauricio) ‘Shogun’ (Rua) yesterday, to be inducted. I want to listen to my trainers and my coaches and I think that’s it. I need to work hard and dedicate myself.”