The Ignored Contender: UFC Sao Paulo’s Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira UFC
Charles Oliveira Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Charles Oliveira, despite holding the record for submissions in the UFC, has been overlooked heading into UFC Sao Paulo. In fact he’s been overlooked through much of his recent career.

The lightweight division is by far one of the most stacked divisions in MMA. The weight class is currently home to fighters like Dustin Poirier, Justin Gathje, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson, Kevin Lee, Gregor Gillispie, Conor McGregor, and several others. It is an insane feat to command any kind of attention in this division. As a result, several contenders tend to go unnoticed for years. In fact, some just happen to be around for so long that fans simply stop looking at them as elite fighters with title potential. One such contender is Charles Oliveira who’ll be locking horns against Jared Gordon this weekend at UFC Sao Paulo.

Oliveira has been an active fighter in the UFC since the year 2010. He has a decorated record that spans across two weight classes. Despite his long run and a decent record of 13-8, “do Bronx” has never been considered as one of the elites in either weight class. He has come close to receiving breaks multiple times but has never defeated top contenders from either feather or lightweight.

This weekend he has the opportunity to earn one more such chance at a break. He is currently on a career-high five-fight winning streak. He has won all of those fights via finishes and has also received four consecutive Performance of the Night bonuses. If he manages to replicate another strong performance this weekend the UFC will simply have no option but to give Oliveira another chance to break in as a contender.

Opponent Jared Gordon will enter the fight after having bounced back from a disappointing two-fight losing streak in his last bout. This is a big opportunity for him, as if he manages to halt the current run of Oliveira, he could see a strong push from the promotion. A win for Oliveira, on the other hand, is more about sending a message that he has arrived as a contender and is here to stay in the division. Either result should be fun for fans, but Oliveira has so much more to gain here.

UFC Sao Paulo (UFC Fight Night 164) will be live on ESPN+ in the USA, TSN 5 in Canada on November 16, and Sony TEN 2 and Sony TEN 2 HD in India on November 17.