Charles Oliveira is letting his wins speak for him and he has been doing a lot of winning these days.
“Do Bronx” recorded the first successful defense of his lightweight title on Saturday, finishing Dustin Poirier via rear-naked choke submission in third round of the main event of UFC 269 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It was the 10th straight victory for Oliveira, who hasn’t lost a fight in three years.
Heading into the bout, oddsmakers had actually pegged Poirier as the favorite, a detail that Oliveira says had no effect on his mindset when the time came to take care of business.
“I don’t care,” Oliveira said at the UFC 269 post-fight press conference. “I don’t care what people think, I don’t care what they say. Look at what they’ve been saying about me.
“They say I can’t take hits. Look at what I’ve been doing. They say I quit. Look what I’ve been doing. So I’m just gonna continue to do what I do.”
Though Saturday’s headlining contest clocked in at just over 11 minutes of action, it was a back-and-forth affair in the early going as Poirier clearly hurt Oliveira with strikes to take the first round. In Round 2, swept Poirier during a grappling exchange to end up in top position. Oliveira was then able to do enough damage on the ground to earn a 10-8 on two of the judges’ scorecards.
In the end, the judges weren’t needed anyway as Oliveira took Poirier’s back in round three and finished with a choke.
Waiting in the wings for Oliveira is former interim champion Justin Gaethje, who is fresh off winning a Fight of the Year candidate against Michael Chandler at UFC 268. Gaethje has been critical of some of Oliveira’s losing performances earlier in his career, but Oliveira is taking Gaethje’s comments in stride.
“Listen, I don’t care,” Oliveira said. “I come here and I do it. I’m not on the internet, I’m not on Twitter, I’m not on Facebook trying to show people what’s going on. I’m here, I’m the champion, I have this belt, I’m gonna keep defending it, I don’t care what people say. I’m gonna do me.”
“It’s what I’ve always said,” he added when asked how he feels he matches up with the striking-minded Gaethje. “A fight is a fight. I’m gonna do what I do. We’re gonna plan around whoever the opponent is and we’re gonna do what’s needed and we’re just gonna continue to train and make it happen.”
How much his win at UFC 269 affects his all-time ranking in the UFC’s perenially loaded lightweight division is anyone’s guess, though Oliveira is already feeling confident in where his legacy stands.
One question that won’t go away should Oliveira put together a dominant title run is how he stacks up against retired former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. “The Eagle” retired from competition in October of last year with a 29-0 record having never lost the lightweight championship in the cage.
He tweeted his congratulations to Oliveira shortly after the bout.
My congratulations Champ, you deserve this— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) December 12, 2021
Oliveira was asked if Nurmagomedov is “the one that got away” and Oliveira simply dismissed the question.
“I said that I really don’t care what people think,” Oliveira said. “He was a great fighter, a great champion, he had his history and his legacy but he retired and now history and legacy have a new name and its Charles Oliveira.
“From now on, there’s not this thing of, ‘Oh, it didn’t happen,’ ‘the one that got away.’ It’s what we can do.”