UFC 152 Fight Card: Is Charles Oliveira a Dark Horse Title Contender?

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2012

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Charles Oliveira has made an explosive debut at 145 pounds in 2012—two fights and two submissions.

At UFC 152 he will try to extend his featherweight record to 3-0 as he meets Cub Swanson inside the Octagon at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Should he get past Swanson he will undoubtedly be a potential contender for the UFC Featherweight Championship and Jose Aldo.

Why is Do Bronx able to leap up the rankings in less than a year? Because the featherweight talent pool is still quite shallow and he has been putting away his opposition in impressive fashion.

Oliveira made his debut at featherweight in January at UFC on FOX: Evans vs. Davis. In under two minutes he captured the submission of the night with a calf slicer. A rarely seen submission awed the crowd.

He would return to the cage on June 1 against Jonathan Brookins. The former Ultimate Fighter winner was coming off an impressive KO victory over Vagner Rocha, but Oliveira put him away with an anaconda choke in the second frame.

A victory over Cub Swanson, who is also seeking his third straight W, would put him in prime position to challenge for the strap.

Champion Jose Aldo is currently sidelined with a foot injury but is still expected to defend the title against Frankie Edgar later this year. Who else is in contention?

Erik Koch originally was slated to face off against Aldo before an injury put him on the shelf, Chad Mendes made quick work of Cody McKenzie in his last outing and Chan Sung Jung is still awaiting his next fight after dispatching of Dustin Poirier. Ricardo Lamas is often forgot about as well.

Mendes, having just been knocked out by Aldo earlier this year, is still likely another fight or two away from getting another shot at the gold. That leaves Chan Sung Jung and Ricardo Lamas as the only other two potential contenders in the mix.

A win would put Oliveira right there with both men who are also on three fight winning streaks.

Timing is everything. Should Oliveira escape without injury he will be in prime position to be on Joe Silva's shortlist should another injury happen.

The keys to a title shot in the UFC are to win and be exciting. Oliveira has been accomplishing both. His victories have been featured on Fuel, FX, and now his bout with Swanson will open the PPV telecast of UFC 152.

Each exciting bout earns him more fans and more clout within the division.

Oliveira's drop to featherweight has proven to be the correct decision. His stature makes him one of the bigger fighters in the division with some of the best jiu-jitsu as well. With an ever improving striking game he is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC.

Coming away with a victory at UFC 152 is up first. Swanson will certainly try to make his own case to be the next contender.

If he is able to stop Swanson, Do Bronx will definitely become a dark horse contender for Aldo's featherweight crown.