Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev will fight for the vacant lightweight title on October 22 at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi.
The uncrowned lightweight king Charles Oliveira will attempt to regain the 155-pound gold when he faces the Russian talent in the main event of UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 22, the date and location initially suggested by Makhachev and his longtime friend Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Charles “do Bronx” Oliveira wants to make things easier for Makhachev by starting the bout off his back.
“I’m going to his home, where they wanted the fight, where they think they will beat me,” Oliveira said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca. “I know I’m the biggest problem of this division. No one’s dumb, right? Every guy Islam fought was a striker and he took them down, and I went toe to toe with every guy I fought and only took them down to make things happen after I hurt them on the feet. Islam is fighting the worst problem of the division, Charles Oliveira.
“Want to start the fight on the ground? I’ll start playing guard. It won’t make any difference to me. Again, I’m telling everyone this, I’m the division’s biggest problem and you’re not understanding. I don’t care who it is and when it is. If you want to trade on the feet, come for it, I have firepower in my hands. If you want to take me down, do it.”
Charles Oliveira was stripped of the UFC title on the scale before finishing Justin Gaethje this past May, and has names like Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee included in his 11-fight winning streak. Makhachev won his past 10 in the octagon against the likes of Bobby Green, Dan Hooker, Thiago Moises, Drew Dober and Arman Tsarukyan.
The Chute Boxe representative doesn’t treat Makhachev as an easy opponent and recognizes his skills in the sport. Yet, “do Bronx” sees himself as a bad match-up for someone with that style of fighting.
“When you’re fighting someone that will only take you down, you have to train what you do best,” Charles Oliveira said. “People don’t get it, I don’t know if they’re stupid or dumb. Islam has some striking, but he takes everybody down. Every guy he’s fought are strikers who were afraid of getting taken down. I’m not afraid of getting taken down. Islam has a lot to worry about what he’s going to do. I have no weight over me, nothing. I’m 100 percent at what he does best. I have the record for most submissions in [UFC] history and I have firepower in my hands.
“You want peace? We want twice of it. You want war? War is coming, it’s on October] 22. … I’m ready. I’ll win this guy. Listen to me, I’ll leave a gigantic legacy. I get near the big names of the sport and they feel bothered. Why is that? I haven’t done anything. The reality is they see how much I’m evolving. That’s the reality. The way I talk has changed, the way I get dressed has changed, the way I arrive has changed. Everything has changed.”
As for the fact he’s facing Makhachev in what is treated like enemy territory, Oliveira won’t mind either. Charles Oliveira went 6-0 when competing in UFC events in Brazil — and expects to headline a UFC card in his home country in January 2023 — and has travelled all around the world for the company, fighting from Canada to Mexico to New Zealand, and now makes his first appearance in the United Arab Emirates.
“The octagon is the same wherever, in a street in the favela or in Dubai or anywhere else,” Charles Oliveira said. “It’s just the two of us when the cage door closes. I have all the respect in the world for Islam and his story and what he’s done, but we have to weight things, the names I’ve fought and the names he’s fought. It’s different already. I’m way better than him, and now we’ll see who’s the best.
“I’m very happy to be the underdog in this fight so everybody makes money. That’s the reality. I get sad when I’m not the underdog so people don’t make money.”