Michael Chandler Explains Why Charles Oliveira Should Be Named Fighter of the Year and Not Kamaru Usman

Published 12/22/2021, 6:00 AM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 10: UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira arrives at T-Mobile Arena during the UFC 264 event on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)|GettyImages


The year 2021 is coming to an end, and with that, an amazing year for combat sports is as well. 2021 saw some of the biggest fights and rivalries taking place.

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There were some epic moments this year, but probably none bigger than Charles Oliveira winning the UFC lightweight title. The Brazilian fighter, after being in the UFC for around 11 years, won his first title in the promotion. He defended the title as well at UFC 269.

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Given his stellar year, ‘Do Bronx’ received the backing of his UFC 262 opponent, Michael Chandler, to win the Fighter of the Year.

He said, “Absolutely, and I think that’s the one thing that Charles would have going against him was that he didn’t have as many fights in the year as Kamaru did. But one thing in my opinion, what Kamaru has going against him if we’re talking about the fighter of the year, is that unfortunately, it’s almost as though we expected Kamaru to be that dominant.”

“So, when it comes to exceeding expectations and that feeling you get when you say, man, what that guy did, that makes him fighter of the year. That for me is Charles Oliveira.”

“I feel like it was unexpected. Would we have ever thought that Charles Oliveira would be the lightweight champion a year, a year and a half ago? Obviously, he was still on a run, but he was still fighting guys outside the top 10. And then all of a sudden he comes inside the top 10.”

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“And then has been finishing guys inside the top 10 now for about a year. Then to cap it all off at the end, beating Dustin Poirier, one of the greatest to ever do it at lightweight. The exceeding of expectations for me is why I would give it to Charles.”

Charles Oliveira’s journey to the top

Charles Oliveira is the UFC lightweight champion. However, his journey to the top has not been an easy one. The fighter from Brazil paid his share of dues while getting to the title.

‘Do Bronx’ made his UFC debut in 2010. He entered the promotion on the back of a 12 fight winning streak and was looked at as the next big thing in the sport. Oliveira won his first two fights in the UFC and was on his way to the top. However, he hit a few roadblocks on the way and even switched his division to featherweight after a few fights. After not being able to find consistency in the featherweight division, he jumped back to being a lightweight.

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Since losing to Paul Felder in 2017, he has been on a tear. After going on a seven-fight win streak, Oliveira went up against one of the greatest lightweights of all time, Tony Ferguson. Few expected him to come out on top in that fight, but Oliveira put on a dominant performance and won via a unanimous decision. After 11 years of being in the promotion, he got his first crack at a championship against Michael Chandler.

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Charles Oliveira stopped Chandler in the second round to win the lightweight title. Six months later, ‘Do Bronx’ defended his title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 and cemented himself as one of the best lightweights of all time.

With the kind of performances Oliveira has put in this year, he definitely has made a case for himself to win the ‘Fighter of the Year.’ Do you think he should win the award? Let us know in the comments!

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Arunaditya Aima

498 articles

Arunaditya is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Multimedia Journalism from IIJNM, Arunaditya aspires to be an important voice in the world of MMA and interview the likes of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and other such superstars of the sport. He has followed the sport for over a decade and is an ardent fan of Georges St-Pierre, who he believes is the greatest of all time.

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