Not too long ago, the UFC featherweight division seemed thin and devoid of true title challengers. Champion Jose Aldo had already beaten everyone at the top – convincingly – and rumors began swirling about when Aldo should move up in weight. But that talk has all but disappeared now because the division is suddenly one of the most intriguing in the UFC.

Between the brash exploits of Conor McGregor, the continued excellence of Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar and the rise of young gun, Max Holloway, featherweight is where it’s at right now.

But there another fighter in the featherweight division who continues to be overlooked as a potential contender and that is Charles Oliveira. At just 25, Oliveira has already competed in the Octagon 12 times.

Since making the move down to featherweight, Oliveira has looked impressive. Granted he lost back-to-back fights to Cub Swanson and Edgar, but he has dominated everyone else. Still very young, Oliveira is improving with every outing and he has the tools and the potential to develop into a dangerous contender.

On Saturday, May 30, 2015, Oliveira will look to improve his stock in the division when he takes on fellow featherweight top 10 fighter Nik Lentz in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 67. These two have met once before, but the fight was ruled a No Contest due to an illegal knee. Since that fight at lightweight, both fighters have improved, but Oliveira has the tools to walk away the victor.

Utilize His Length

As far as featherweights are concerned, Oliveira is a very long fighter and against Lentz, he will have a five inch reach advantage. Oliveira is not a striker by any stretch of the imagination, but he has greatly improved over the years. His length and reach will allow him control the distance and that will make it difficult for Lentz to get off any real offense on the feet.

Make Lentz Grapple

To the untrained mind, forcing a wrestler like Lentz to grapple seems like a bad move. But for a submission wizard like Oliveira, that is exactly what needs to happen. As good as Lentz is on the ground, Oliveira is better. Had it not have been for an illegal knee, Oliveira would already have a submission victory over him.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.