Who’s next for Charles Oliveira after UFC 274? Is Conor McGregor in the frame?

After his first round submission victory over Justin Gaethje at Saturday’s UFC 274 card in Phoenix, Arizona, Planet Sport’s Kieran Cobley looks at who is next for the Brazilian lightweight.

UFC 274 was not a straight forward affair for Charles Oliveira.

A weight miss of half a pound at Friday's weigh-in saw him stripped of the lightweight title prior to his clash against Justin Gaethje.

It meant only Gaethje could win the vacant belt but it wasn't to be as Oliveira produced an opening round submission to win.

While the Brazilian was not able to win the title, he is now number one contender for the belt and in many people's eyes, he is still the champion.

Here are five options for 'Do Bronx' next.

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor

McGregor should be nowhere near a lightweight title shot after back-to-back losses to Dustin Poirier, but money talks, and McGregor's mass appeal and place in pop-culture will make sure that this fight generates big money.

Oliveira seems very open to the idea of taking on 'The Notorious' McGregor, calling out the Irishman in his post-fight interview: "Hey Conor McGregor, are you coming up or are you running away?"

Should McGregor accept a bout with Oliveira for the title, it will be his first fight back in the Octagon since January last year, and his first for a title since being beat by Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018.

Islam Makhachev

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? I don't know but we could find out if the UFC decide to book Makhachev vs Oliveira later this year.

Makhachev is riding a 10-fight win streak dating back to 2015 with the most recent four victories all coming within the distance, allowing the Russian prospect to hold the number three spot in the lightweight rankings.

Oliveira is riding an 11-fight win streak and with wins over some of the more notable names in the 155lbs division like Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier, it might be time for the UFC to give a title shot to a man who has been patiently climbing the rankings and racking up the wins in Islam Makhachev.

Former lightweight champion and Makhachev's coach, Khabib Nurmagomedov, has already taken to Twitter to start lobbying UFC president, Dana White, for the matchup, tweeting: "Is there really a more interesting duel in the UFC at the moment than Islam (Makhachev) vs Charles (Oliveira)."

Michael Chandler

Chandler is no doubt an outsider when it comes to getting a title shot with only two wins in his last four bouts, and while his win over Tony Ferguson at UFC 274 was incredible, 'El Cucuy' was on a three-fight skid coming in and ranked seventh in the UFC's lightweight rankings.

What Chandler does have going for him though is the narrative. Oliveira beat Chandler for the vacant title in May last year so it could create the perfect redemption storyline to market the fight with.

Michael Chandler

If Chandler wins, he avenges his first defeat in the UFC and fulfils his dream of winning the gold, while Oliveira could earn some redemption of his own by recapturing the title he never truly lost.

In his post-fight interview at UFC 274, Chandler had three people in mind for his next opponent: Oliveira, Gaethje and McGregor, so he is open to the fight.

Dustin Poirier

You know what they say, third time is the charm.

In two shots at undisputed UFC gold, Dustin Poirier has come up short twice, with the most recent of those title losses coming at the hands of Oliveira.

From a ranking point of view, Poirier is currently ranked at number two, so it makes sense to book the rematch with Oliveira.

Dustin Poirier

Like Chandler, 'The Diamond' also has the redemption storyline going for him with a rematch with Oliveira, however, if he was to come up short, that would surely be the last chance for Poirier to get his hands on an undisputed title.

Poirier has previously held the interim lightweight belt but failed to unify it when he took on Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Beneil Dariush

Dariush is the biggest outsider when it comes to a possible title shot, despite the fact he is riding a seven-fight win streak.

While 'Benny' is currently ranked fifth in the rankings and his streak of seven victories is impressive, he is in need of a big win before he can get that shot at the title.

Dariush's biggest win came last year with a win over Tony Ferguson, but with Ferguson coming into that bout on two consecutive losses, it wouldn't have been enough to elevate his stock to title challenger status.

Oliveira could struggle stylistically with Dariush should the fight be made though, with Dariush having a takedown defence rate of 81%, meaning the Brazilian will have difficulty getting the scrap to a position when he can wrap in a submission.

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