While other top-ranked lightweight competitors, along with some fans and media members, aren’t showing Charles Oliveira the respect that a world champion typically garners, coach Mike Brown and Dustin Poirier are certainly giving it to him.
Poirier, the current No. 1 ranked lightweight in the MMA Fighting Global MMA Rankings, will challenge Charles Oliveira for the undisputed 155-pound title in the main event of UFC 269, MMA Fighting first reported earlier this month. The event takes place Dec. 11 at a venue and location yet to be announced.
After consecutive finishes of Conor McGregor to kick off his 2021 campaign, Poirier will get his second chance to become undisputed champ.
Despite some lack of respect towards Oliveira’s status in one of the deepest divisions in the sport after stopping Michael Chandler to win the title at UFC 262, Brown doesn’t understand where that is coming from.
“I give him a lot of respect,” Brown told MMA Fighting during a visit to American Top Team. “I think he’s a fan-favorite, I think people are excited to see him fight and he is the champ. The guy has the most subs in UFC history and this is something special.
“I don’t know, the circle I’m in, the circles I’m involved in, give him a lot of respect. Maybe in the media [or with the fans] that’s the case, but from where I’m sitting he gets a lot of respect.”
“The Diamond” has impressively won seven of eight, and three straight to set himself up for the chance to check off a pivotal goal in his career. Brown believes the championship bout will be interesting to prepare for, and should be a lot of fun for the fans to witness in the UFC’s final PPV event of the year, although Brown is confident he’ll be standing in the corner of the world’s best 155er.
“I love the matchup,” Brown said. “It’s exciting. His style, he’s an elite submission grappler, one of the best in the sport and it’s a fun puzzle. But I think Dustin is the best lightweight in the world, without a doubt.
“One of my favorite stats that they threw out recently was the third quickest to 20 wins behind Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre. That’s pretty damn good company, and that shows what caliber of a fighter he truly is. He’s one of the greatest to ever do the sport.”
In September 2019, Poirier—who was the interim champion at the time—challenged Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed title at UFC 242. The recently retired Nurmagomedov submitted Poirier in the third round to improve his record to 28-0.
Following the loss, an emotional Poirier vowed to keep going and earn his way back to another opportunity to become world champion. Brown has seen the hunger and desire from his fighter since that fight in Abu Dhabi against Nurmagomedov and hopes that everything can fall into place to cap off a memorable year.
“It shows you that you think you’re out, but one or two fights and you’re right back in there,” Brown explained. “You can never count yourself out, this sport changes so quickly. Sometimes, with the world championship, there’s a little bit of luck involved with timing, promotion, so many things, the luck on the night—sometimes the better fighter doesn’t always win—there’s so many things that factor in.
“If you look at Dustin’s overall resume, it’s unbelievably impressive.”