Charles Oliveira’s head coach Diego Lima guarantees the UFC lightweight champion “will shock the world one more time” Saturday night in Las Vegas when he puts his lightweight belt on the line for the first time against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269.
Speaking on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca, the leader of Chute Boxe Diego Lima weighed in on the matchup and said he’s dreamed of many different scenarios heading into the hotly anticipated bout. Oliveira doesn’t have just one card up his sleeve for UFC 269, Lima said, but “the entire deck.”
“We have someone who’s very afraid of Charles’ ground [game],” Lima said of Poirier. “In my opinion, Poirier doesn’t really want to take this fight to the ground. People that watch Charles’ fights and Poirier’s fights will say, ‘F*ck, Poirier better keep this fight on the feet.’
“[Oliveira] is so ready on the feet and on the ground that I’ve dreamed of both. I’ve dreamed of him landing a hard one and Poirier getting soft and going down and Charles finishing the job with some ground-and-pound until the referee pushes him away; I’ve also dreamed of Charles adjusting a tight position and Poirier getting purple, red, yellow, and then tapping. Honestly, I’ve dreamed of both things because I know Charles has what it takes to do both things. That’s the reality. One thing is for sure, this fight won’t go to the judges.”
Oliveira was hoping to face Poirier earlier this year for the vacant lightweight throne, however “The Diamond” opted to resume his series with MMA superstar Conor McGregor instead, leading to Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler. Poirier ultimately beat “The Notorious” twice in 2021, and now Lima expects their UFC 269 clash to be a blockbuster.
“I’m sure this fight will sell a lot of pay-per-views because there’s a lot of expectations around it,” Lima said. “Charles holds the record not only for most submissions [in UFC history], but also most finishes, and he’s one away from [Donald Cerrone’s] record for most bonuses too. He’s collecting records, really. It’s going to be a war. Poirier is another step in Charles’ ladder — and he will walk through him.”
Fellow lightweights like Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje have questioned Oliveira’s “heart” recently, even after he came back from a terrible first round to finish Chandler in their championship contest. But Oliveira’s coach doesn’t believe they think that.
Instead, Lima said, they use it as a form of “trash talk” to get “do Bronx” to fail.
“Charles matured inside the organization,” Lima said.
“Even though he got in [the UFC] undefeated, he was a boy amongst the lions, as he likes to say, and now he’s a lion amongst the lions. We can’t keep talking about his first, second, third, fourth, fifth [UFC] fights, or the first time he suffered a loss. We can’t use that as a standard. Quite the opposite, we have to look at his evolution, the experience he has gained in there. He has proven more than anyone that he doesn’t lack heart.”