Charles Oliveira has lost his UFC Lightweight world championship before he even stepped in to the cage at UFC 274, as he missed the weight limit by just half a pound. Oliveira is one of the most talented grapplers to ever compete in the octagon and he has proved his ability time and time again, registering more submission victories than any other fighter in UFC history. While he had some trouble putting it all together early on in his career, recent years have seen him develop into a fearsome striker with an iron chin and he’s even managed to beat people on the feet that he previously would not have been able to.
For this reason he was regarded as a heavy favourite coming in to his title-defence against Justin Gaethje, the second of his reign as champion after he managed to knock out Michael Chandler at UFC 262. Shortly after that, Oliveira managed to submit Dustin Poirier in the third round of their fight and started to reveal that a return to the Featherweight division might be on the cards for him in the future. Now that Oliveira is no longer the promotion’s Lightweight world champion and he is also unable to win his title back even if he emerges victorious against Gaethje at UFC 274, it seems as though a fight with Alexander Volkanovski is more likely than ever before.
As is customary when a champion misses weight in the UFC, Oliveira will vacate the title the moment that he steps in to the cage to face Gaethje. If Gaethje manages to win then he will claim the title just as he otherwise would, but the title will remain vacant if Oliveira wins or the pair fight to a draw. While this does potentially create a rather murky picture at the top of the UFC Lightweight division, it’s not a completely unheard of situation and it’s one that usually resolves itself on the night or one more fight afterward.
The full UFC 274 event, including Charles Oliveira taking on Justin Gaethje, will be available to watch live on May 7th on UFC FightPass, click here to subscribe and watch.