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Charles Oliveira eyes Conor McGregor-Dustin Poirier winner after continuing climb at UFC 256

LAS VEGAS – With a one-sided victory over Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 on Saturday night, Charles Oliveira has finally reached rarified air: the elite stratosphere of the lightweight division, which means he’s keeping company with some of the biggest names in the sport and the highest-profile fights.

It’s been a long way up for Oliveira (30-8 MMA, 18-8 UFC), who clearly wants to rock ‘n’ roll. A member of the UFC roster since 2010, he’s won eight fights in a row and is closing in on the short list of contenders for the belt still held by the recently retired Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The way Oliveira sees it, Nurmagomedov is going to stay retired. And as such, only one fight makes sense for him next: Whoever takes the highly anticipated UFC 257 main event between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

“Khabib swore on his father’s grave that he wasn’t going to come back, so when a man does that, I don’t think he’s going to come back,” Oliveira said through an interpreter at the UFC 256 post-fight news conference. “(Justin) Gaethje can fight whoever, but I want the winner of Conor and Poirier. I have eight wins in a row, seven of those I finish the fights, and I don’t let it go to the judges hands, I finish fights. I deserve (it), I’m in the position to be fighting for the belt.”

As for a preference on which opponent he’d like to face? Well, Oliveira acknowledges that a bout with McGregor is the one that would bring him the most money. But at the end of the day he’s all about getting the belt, so as far as he’s concerned, whomever it may be, bring it on.

“I don’t really think there is a preference,” Oliveira said. “I want to fight for the belt. That’s been my dream and my team’s dream. Obviously fighting Conor comes with a lot of other things, a lot of money that maybe a fight with Dustin wouldn’t involve, but if you want to win the belt it really doesn’t make a difference.”

As that plays out, for now, Oliveira is just glad he has the opportunity to prove himself.

“I think everything happens at the right time,” he said. “Look at the fight tonight: This is the guy everyone calls ‘The Boogeyman,’ and we went in there and we had an amazing fight. I’ve been telling everyone I’m going to be the champion. People don’t believe it, so I have to show them.”

For more from Oliveira, watch the video above.

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