On Saturday night in front of an intense home country crowd in Sao Paulo, Charles Oliveira added another highlight reel finish to his already impressive body of work. This time it was an 86 second knockout of Jared Gordon (watch the finish here), putting “Do Bronx” on a six fight win streak.
Much has been made of Oliveira’s difficulty staying in the minds of fans when they talk about the best UFC lightweights. You’d think with records for most fight of the night bonuses, most submission wins, and second most finishes overall, he’d have a vocal army demanding a spot in the extremely slow moving 155 pound title line. But losing skids in 2011-2012 and 2015-2016 have many doubting he can hang in the top 5.
At the post fight press conference, Oliveira made it clear he wanted to end those doubts. And part of that is being a bit flashier outside the cage and calling out fighters.
”I think it’s time for me to start talking more,” he said. “I’m still the same guy from the favela, I’m grounded. But it’s time to dress a little better and talk a little more. And say some names. I said Conor McGregor’s name and Paul Felder’s [name]. He’s the last guy to beat me. I want to get into that, fighting top five guys. “
If it was up to Oliveira, he’d turn right around and fight again on the final UFC pay-per-view of the year.
”I want to fight in the last card of the year, I didn’t take any punches,” Oliviera said. “I’m 100% and can beat Conor McGregor or Paul Felder. Everyone’s talking about Khabib ... I’m better than him standing up. If it goes to the ground I’m not going to be afraid of him.”
That’s confident talk from someone whose 2016 comprised of submission losses to Anthony Pettis and Ricardo Lamas. Perhaps it comes from all the extra time he’s been spending in the gym, whereas before he admits he would take months away from training in between fights.
”I can’t say that I’m the most well rounded guy, but I’m getting there,” he said. “Four or five years ago, I would spend two or three months without training. Now all I do is train. Right after the fight I go back to training. On Monday I’ll be back at the gym. So we always become more well rounded and we always sit down after the fight. After the last fight my coach asked me what was missing. I said maybe some more strength. Now we’re working on that, and we’ll keep looking to see what we need for me to become the best.”
Like a certain other lightweight that’s enjoyed a resurgence after several years of inconsistent results, Oliveira credits fatherhood with giving him a new level of motivation and focus.
”I don’t want to be just another fighter. I want to be the best. I want people to say ‘Charles is the best submission artist, the best knockout artist.”