Dana White Snubs Team Khabib to Decide Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje’s Demands as Islam Makhachev Wants an Opponent Post-UFC 294

Published 10/22/2023, 5:06 AM EDT

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Charles Oliveira had to withdraw from his fight against Islam Makhachev due to an injury. As a result, Alex Volkanovski had to step up to fill the gap. However, UFC 294 has concluded, and Makhachev successfully defended his title by defeating Volkanovski via a vicious KO. With this victory, there’s another question that looms around the corners of the lightweight division.

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Following Makhachev’s successful title defense, a pressing question emerges: who will step up to face Islam Makhachev next, and who will be vying for the coveted title shot? In a competitive landscape where both Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje are in contention for the title, uncertainty looms over who will ultimately earn the opportunity. However, UFC CEO Dana White appears to have dropped a subtle hint regarding the likelihood of the next title bout.

Charles Oliveira emerges as surprising contender for lightweight title shot

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The highly anticipated UFC 294 has been concluded and we have a set of winners. Dana White in the post-fight interview was asked various questions regarding the fate of the lightweight division. During the conversation, a reporter asked White about Makhachev’s next opponent and the next fighter to get the title shot.

White stated, ” Listen, you’ve got to give it to Oliveira. Oliveira is ready to go; unfortunately, he got a cut. I think we give it to Oliveira. But again, these are all questions that I really can’t answer right now. We get home, we figure it out, and see what’s next for everybody.”

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This announcement may have come as a surprise to those who expected Gaethje to fight for the title next. ‘The Highlight’ won the BMF title in July in spectacular fashion and was awaiting the winner of Makhachev vs. Oliveira. However, it seems the wait just got longer for the former interim champion. There might only be one logical reason behind White’s choice and it dates back to May 2022.

At this point, one must remember that Oliveira already has a first-round win over Gaethje from UFC 274. It wouldn’t be surprising if this win tipped the scales in the Brazilian’s favor in the months to come. Further, White’s statement contradicted Ali Abdelaziz’s statement, which claimed that Gaethje would be getting the title shot after UFC 294.

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Ali Abdelaziz’s statement on Makhachev’s next opponent

Justin Gaetjhe’s and Islam Makhachev’s manager had previously claimed that Gaethje would be getting a title shot after Makhachev is done with UFC 294. While having a conversation with the famous YouTuber ‘The Schmo’, Abdelaziz added ” Inshallah, Islam will win, and he will fight Justin Gaethje next. This is what we want, and this is what the UFC wants. Justin Gaethje has earned it too. You don’t go out there, knock out Dustin Poirier like that, and not get the title shot.”

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However, with Dana White’s revelation about the fate of the lightweight division, it is clear that Charles Oliveira is still the frontrunner for the coveted lightweight title. What is your opinion on Dana White’s statement? Who do you want to see Islam Makhachev fight next?

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Written by:

Suryakant Das

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Suryakant Das is a UFC Writer at EssentiallySports. Combining his wealth of experience as a news writer and content lead with his passion for all things MMA, Suryakant brings a unique blend of reliable reporting and stylistic storytelling to his readers. His favorite fighter is Charles Oliveira, and he draws inspiration from the Brazilian MMA star’s underdog to world champion story for his own aspirations in life.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen

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