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Over the past two years, Charles Oliveira has become maybe the most interesting fighter on the UFC roster. He was once a fighter who brought plenty to the Octagon but never came through in his biggest moments. Now, Oliveira enters a lightweight championship bout with Islam Makhachev at UFC 280 looking to run his winning streak to 12 and become lightweight champion for a second time.

After starting his career 14-0, Oliveira hit a rough stretch, going 8-8 over seven years spent at lightweight and featherweight. Oliveira was an elite-tier gatekeeper, never really in danger of being cut and nearly always in exciting fights while also not someone expected to threaten for a world title.

A June 2018 win over Clay Guida was the start of a new phase in Oliveira's career as wins started coming and did not stop. Now firmly established back in the lightweight division, Oliveira set the record for most submission finishes in UFC history, then the record for most finishes overall. Oliveira piled up eight performance bonuses and beat some of the toughest men at 155 pounds, including Guida, Jim Miller, Nik Lentz, Kevin Lee, Tony Ferguson, Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje.

In that run came the lightweight title win against Chandler and a successful defense against Poirier before Oliveira lost the title on the scales when he was less than a pound overweight against Gaethje. There was controversy over the accuracy of the test scale, but the rules meant Oliveira shifted from world champion to uncrowned champion.

In the fights with Chandler, Poirier and Gaethje, Oliveira also shed the "quitter" label that had dogged him for much of his career, battling back from knockdowns and nearly being finished to score stoppages of all three men.

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Over the past four and a half years, Oliveira has made as good of a case as possible to be placed among the greatest lightweights in UFC history.

His lightweight title win over Chandler came because Khabib Nurmagomedov, the greatest lightweight in UFC history, had retired, leaving the belt vacant.

Oliveira will never have the opportunity to face Nurmagomedov, nor will he have Nurmagomedov's sparkling undefeated record. He does, however, have the opportunity on Saturday to face a man who has been viewed as something akin to "The Next Nurmagomedov."

Like his friend and coach Nurmagomedov, Makhachev is Dagestani and fights with a similar grappling-heavy style that led to dominance in the Octagon, with the exception of a lone knockout loss to Adriano Martins in 2015. The comparisons are easy and simple, and for Oliveira to continue his all-time run with a win over Makhachev is as close as he can get to an answer to the "What if?" of a theoretical Oliveira vs. Nurmagomedov clash.

Despite one of the greatest runs in UFC history, Oliveira may still have some ground to cover before he can make a claim as the greatest lightweight ever. Beating Makhachev would be a great next step on that journey.

Oliveira has already shed the labels of "gatekeeper" and "quitter." He's proven his resilience after a rough mid-career stretch. He's won and defended a world title while winning 11 straight fights over some of the greatest lightweights of his era and done it all with style.

We've entered the legacy-building phase of Oliveira's career. And that legacy only becomes more incredible with a win over one of lightweight's biggest boogeymen.

Who wins Oliveira vs. Makhachev? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 280, all from the incomparable expert who's up more than $13,000 on MMA in the past three-plus years, and find out.