UFC champion Charles Oliveira to be cageside for Conor McGregor v Dustin Poirier

Charles Oliveira will be cageside for Conor McGregor's fight with Dustin Poirier – with the winner expected to be the opponent for his first title defence.

The newly-crowned UFC lightweight champion will fly to Las Vegas on Thursday, with an eye to being front and centre at Saturday's fight.

Poirier turned down the opportunity to fight for the vacant belt in May, which resulted in Oliveira taking on Michael Chandler at UFC 262.

But the No.1 ranked contender can secure a big money title opportunity by beating McGregor for the second time in six months.

McGregor is also eyeing up another run with the gold, having picked up the undisputed strap in an historic win over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in 2016 that made him the first simultaneous world champion in the sport's history.

Poirier became interim champion in 2019, but has yet to taste the undisputed title, losing his unification bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov a few months later.

Both Poirier and McGregor could view Saturday as their last roll of the dice on the path to UFC gold, with the route to the belt a long one for either loser.

But Oliveira says he doesn't have a preference for who he will face, aside from understanding that a McGregor bout would make him more money.

“I never pick opponents – I’ve always been ready to fight," Oliveira said. "They are two huge names in the sport. Everyone knows a fight with McGregor involves a lot of money.

"Poirier, not so much, but they’re both great opponents. I’ll be ready. I believe in my jiu-jitsu against any of them."

It is expected that the Brazilian fighter would be an underdog against either McGregor or Poirier, but in a May interview with MMAFighting, he said that he relishes the role and would be happy to face them under those circumstances.

"I like being the underdog," Oliveira told the website.

"I go there and prove it [his ability], I’ve made history ever since I got in the UFC. Every time people said I couldn’t do something, I went there and proved them wrong.

"When they gave me someone and said they would knock me out, I proved them wrong. Every time they said someone would knock me out, they ended up beat up on the feet and shooting for takedowns.

"I show my firepower, my knockout power. I’ll tell you this, being the underdog or “the man of the hour” makes no difference to me. What matters is what you can do in there.

"Every time you get in there is 50-50 and whoever has the best strategy and is better prepared will win."

Oliveira will be one of a 20,000-person capacity crowd at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night at UFC 264, the first in Las Vegas since early 2020.

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