The MMA world will stand still at UFC 269 this weekend as the lightweight championship is on the line in the main event when Charles Oliveira takes on Dustin Poirier.
After a period of uncertainty at the start of the year at the top of the division, 155lbs will finally see the champion take on the number one contender to stabilise the pack.
For champion Oliveira though, this is a chance for him to legitimise his title reign after the stellar journey he took to hold the belt in the first place.
Oliveira made a run for the title with a stunning eight-fight win streak en route to his fight with Michael Chandler at UFC 262 in May.
Wins over Clay Guida, Christos Giagos, Jim Miller, David Teymur, Nick Lentz and Jared Gordon led him to a first UFC main event as a lightweight against Kevin Lee just as the COVID pandemic struck.
It was the first event to be held behind closed doors, but that didn’t stop ‘Du Bronx’ claiming a brilliant submission win via guillotine when he caught Lee unprepared in the third round.
Beating a ranked guy meant Oliveira was now calling for bigger names, and he was given that with a bout against former interim champion Tony Ferguson at UFC 256.
This was a Ferguson who had just seen his record-breaking win streak snapped by Justin Gaethje and was hungry to get back to winning ways. Oliveira completely dominated him though, using his wrestling and jiu-jitsu to control him for 15 minutes straight and earn his victory.
That led to the fight between Oliveira and Chandler for the belt, but only because Khabib Nurmagomedov made his decision to retire final and Poirier opted to fight Conor McGregor for a third time.
The circumstances surrounding the match up had many believing that the champion of the division after UFC 262 wasn’t necessarily the best lightweight in the world.
But now that won’t be the case. Oliveira has earned the belt and Poirier is undoubtedly the number one man in the division, so the winner of this fight will be seen as the undisputed number one lightweight in the world.
They will have immediate challenges, with Justin Gaethje set for the next shot while Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev will go head to head in 2022, but this the moment for Oliveira.
A win here and there is no debate. He isn’t a placeholder between Khabib and Poirier’s reign, he is the legitimate best 155-pounder in the UFC.
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