Could Charles Oliveira Beat Khabib

Could Charles Oliveira Beat Khabib

In October 2020, lightweight King and UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced he would be retiring from the sport with an undefeated record. The former World Sambo champion Khabib had beaten everyone he faced in the UFC, including wins over Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje. On beating Gaethje, Khabib declared he would be retiring from the sport with a 29-0 record.

Few fighters finish their careers with an unbeaten record, especially in the UFC, where the level of competition is extremely high. As a result, Khabib is considered one of the best fighters of all time, with his extremely strong grappling technique making him very difficult to beat. Since his retirement, the belt has been won by Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira, whose high-level BJJ and excellent striking have seen him win eleven fights in a row since 2017.

Oliveria recently beat Justin Gaethje and also has wins over Tony Ferguson, Dustin Poirier, and Michael Chandler. He was a favorite to win the belt at Betway, and many feel he could potentially beat Khabib if he ever returned to the sport. While it’s unlikely that the Dagestani fighter would make his return to the octagon, it’s not completely impossible, and Oliveria’s excellent submission skills could make him a threat.

How Oliveria Could Beat Khabib

Oliveira’s ability to perform so well and beat the biggest names in the division has been nothing short of impressive.  The Brazilian has made waves with an eleven-fight win streak, and it has clearly aided his cause in how fans view him. Now, many experts are now openly questioning whether it was Oliveira who had the best chance all along in handing “The Eagle” his first defeat. Although Oliveria struggled at featherweight, he’s slowly made a name for himself over four years in the lightweight division. Not only are his wins impressive, but they’re exciting too, regularly ending in TKO or submissions.

While Do Bronx has excellent striking and has finished several top-level opponents with strikes, it’s his BJJ that would make him a threat to Khabib. Despite Khabib’s dominating run through the lightweight division, there are many critics who argue that he never faced a BJJ expert and therefore wasn’t truly tested.

It would have been interesting to see how Khabib dealt with the threat of submission when working from the top position and whether this would have changed his strategy during the fight. Recently, some fighters, including Sean O’Malley, have stated that they believe Oliveira would be Khabib’s biggest challenge yet, and it’s hard to disagree with them.

Could Khabib Return to the UFC?

Khabib’s retirement came from a promise he made to his mother after the death of his father in July 2020. While the UFC’s president Dana White did his best to convince him, his efforts were in vain. Considering the reason for retirement, it’s unlikely that Khabib would come back, but some have claimed it’s a possibility.

Oliveira will most likely face Islam Makhachev next, another Dagestani fighter who happens to be the friend of Khabib and is cornered by the former division champ. The 30-year-old fighter has only one loss in the UFC and is claimed to be the future of the lightweight division by many. If Oliviera beats him, it could set up the possibility of a Khabib return. 

However, Khabib himself has denied these rumors. Currently, he’s the promoter of Eagle FC, a new mixed martial arts championship that has signed fighters like Kevin Lee and Diego Sanchez. If Khabib did return, he would have to pause his current business dealings, and this seems unlikely.