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Coach: Charles Oliveira focused on Dustin Poirier, but ‘absolutely has what it takes’ to fight at 145 and 170

Charles Oliveira
Charles Oliveira won 10 of 11 fights since returning full-time to lightweight in 2017.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Seeking multiple championship belts has become a UFC trend since the company allowed fighters like Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes, and Henry Cejudo to challenge for their second concurrent titles in recent years — and Charles Oliveira wouldn’t mind getting the chance at a similar opportunity in the future.

Oliveira captured the UFC lightweight title earlier this year with a stunning second-round knockout over Michael Chandler, boosting his winning streak to nine and extending his record for most stoppage wins in UFC history. As he prepared to defend his throne for the first time against Dustin Poirier at Saturday’s UFC 269 in Las Vegas, his longtime coach Diego Lima discussed Oliveira’s options for the future.

“Honestly? It would definitely be viable to see him in both weight classes, below and above,” Lima said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca. “Charles walks around 176, 180 pounds when he’s off camp now. When he gets his diet going, he makes weight with no problem.

“You can see his last 10 fights, he basically didn’t even use the extra pound. And not because he didn’t want to, but he just went there and made weight. He made weight the night before [the weigh-ins] for all his fights. There was one fight, the [David] Teymur one if I’m not mistaken, that he made weight two days before.”

Oliveira started his UFC career as a lightweight in 2010 and submitted Darren Elkins and Efrain Escudero before deciding to cut down to 145 pounds after going winless against the likes of Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone. “Do Bronx” then went 7-5 as a featherweight but missed weight on multiple occasions before returning to lightweight in 2017.

The Brazilian talent nonetheless continued to ask for another chance at 145 pounds in his first years back at lightweight, but eventually found his way towards the 155-pound championship. His head coach at Chute Boxe now sees room for more in the future, adding 15 extra pounds or once again going through the process to cut down to featherweight.

“With a work well done and [enough] time, he makes 145 pounds well and strong and recovers [well],” Lima said. “He makes 155 with no effort, thank God, and that’s why he’s getting stronger after each fight. And 170, he’d also fight really strong.

“Charles is someone that, in my opinion, with [enough] time … we’re not saying, ‘Let’s do this, let’s catch two, three [belts]. No, 155 is our focus, it’s Poirier, it’s the [title] defense. That’s out focus. But Charles absolutely has what it takes to fight at 145 and 170, no doubt about it.”

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