There are plenty of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contenders who endure topsy-turvy cage careers.
And Charles Oliveira is no different.
The former Lightweight flameout-turned-fearsome Featherweight is riding high into his UFC Fight Night 74 showdown in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada (Sun., Aug. 23, 2015) with the streaking Max Holloway having won four fights in a row, with three coming by way of submission.
"Do Bronx" -- a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt -- goes for his fifth consecutive win over the explosive Hawaiian inside SaskTel Centre after incurring two career-altering losses just a few years ago. A knockout loss at the hands of former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) competitor Cub Swanson and a lopsided manhandling from former 155-pound champion Frankie Edgar left the stout Brazilian with nowhere to go but up.
"Since my last loss when I was defeated, I tried to focus more on my camp," Oliveira told FOX Sports. "I talked a lot with my training partners and I did a lot to change and I'm ready because I'm coming from four wins in a row and this is my time to make a run at the title."
The 25-year-old might be a ground ace through and through, but to say Oliveira's mixed martial arts (MMA) repertoire is limited would be inaccurate. Though he conducts much of his business on the mat -- his only UFC win in which he didn't capture a submission was over Jeremy Stephens in Dec. 2014 -- Oliveira's striking skills are underrated.
Oliveira 20-4-(1), who has collected eight post-fight performance bonuses throughout his Octagon run, is dangerous with elbows and knee strikes in the clinch. If he's not confidant in his stand-up game, which would prove extremely detrimental versus the kickboxer Holloway (13-3), than his chances of emerging victorious north of the border dwindle.
Good thing that's not the case.
"I believe Holloway will try to keep this standing up because of my style," Oliveira said, adding. "I'm a really good striker, too, my Muay Thai is really awesome. Part of the five rounds will be standing, but at some point I'm going to put Holloway down and I'm very good with submissions."
To the credit of "Blessed," he does have two submission wins under his belt, with the most recent one coming in the form of a guillotine choke finish of Cub Swanson -- a man who knocked out Oliveira in 2012 -- at UFC on FOX 15 back in April. The 23-year-old's romp over Swanson was his sixth victory-in-a-row and fifth finish on his current win streak.
Oliveira knows fair well what he is up against in Holloway, but he also remembers that a fight -- like life -- is sometimes a marathon, not a sprint, and plans on using as much time as he deems necessary to hand the latter an 'L.'
"This is a five-round fight. I don't have to rush the fight. I have five rounds to win. If Holloway makes a mistake before that, I will finish it," said Oliveira.
A win over Holloway would give Oliveira his third victory over a top-10 opponent, which would undoubtedly force UFC's hand, thus ushering him into title contention -- something his manager called for in July. It would mean the culmination of a lifelong dream for a fighter, who went from living in Brazil's ghetto, to UFC stardom.
"I'm totally focused on Holloway now, but my dream is to be champion. I will be ready to fight with anyone in the division," Oliveira said. "I respect (Jose) Aldo so much and the same for (Conor) McGregor, but after beating Holloway, I will be the champion and I'll fight anyone in the UFC who challenges me."
Though he might want to slow his roll -- this guy is sitting in the No. 1 spot.
For the full UFC Fight Night 74: "Holloway vs. Oliveira" fight card click here.