Conor McGregor’s long-time teammate Peter Queally has predicted that he will fight Charles Oliveira in his return from injury – and immediately reclaim the UFC lightweight title.
McGregor and Oliveira have gone back-and-forth in recent weeks, with the Irishman promising that his octagon comeback will be for a world title against the Brazilian, who was crowned this year and defended his title for the first time.
And Queally, who himself has challenged for a lightweight world title in Bellator last month, believes that Oliveira is an opponent who McGregor’s style will match well with, given the Irishman’s striking acumen.
Queally is looking to make a comeback of his own to the world title scene when he faces Brit Kane Mousah in Dublin next February, which will likely be followed by McGregor’s return later in the year.
“It sounds like the belt might happen next to be honest,” Queally told Mirror Fighting in an exclusive chat.
“Normally in this sport, when you’ve got two fighters that want the same thing, that’s what happens.
“So Charles wants this fight with Conor, Conor wants this fight with Charles and normally that’s what happens especially if there’s money to be made, which there is.”
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And he believes that there are openings in Oliveira’s striking game that could allow knockout artist McGregor to take advantage and reclaim the lightweight title that he first won in 2016.
McGregor defeated Eddie Alvarez for the belt at UFC 205 in one of the all-time great title fight performances to become the first man in UFC history to hold belts simultaneously in two weight divisions after beating Jose Aldo 11 months prior.
But he was stripped of both titles when he went to box Floyd Mayweather in 2017, before losing his chance at a second title run to Khabib Nurmagomedov.
And despite going 1-3 in the last five years and being plagued with injuries including his recent broken leg, Queally says that he can come back and reign again as lightweight champion.
“For sure he can beat Charles,” Queally continued. “Obviously it’s not ideal to be out that long with an injury.
“But you know Conor and what he can do, Charles has shown himself to be somebody that is a brilliant fighter but someone who gets hit.
“I always say that if you’re a fighter that gets hit against Conor, it’s bad news for you!
“So I can see him winning that fight – of course it would be ideal if he hadn’t broke his leg and he was coming back from it, but these are things you have to deal with.
“But that looks like the fight there’s going to be!”
The potential match-up between McGregor and Oliveira, which would surely be a massive pay-per-view success, has drawn the ire of many in the MMA community, who believe the Irishman is not a legitimate title contender.
Islam Makhachev and Justin Gaethje both have been in impressive form of late, and hold claims to a title shot, but don’t have the same drawing power as McGregor and could lose out as a result.