Charles Oliveira has proven that he’s dangerous in literally every area that a mixed martial arts (MMA) contest can go; however, if there’s one thing that got him to the top of the mountain, it was his masterful Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills.
Finally set to collide with his fellow grappling powerhouse, Islam Makhachev, for the vacant Lightweight title at UFC 280 on Oct. 22, 2022, Oliveira isn’t afraid of his opponent’s abilities. Virtually unmatched throughout his career to this point in the wrestling department, it’s never a secret what Makhachev wants to do, and that’s smash his opponent into the canvas as soon as possible.
“I’m going to his home, where they wanted the fight, where they think they will beat me,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting of the Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates-based title tilt. “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,” he added. “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.”
Since losing his title on the scale ahead of his last time out, “Do Bronx” has seemingly been reignited by the vocal detractors among the community. Reminding people at every opportunity how he’s still the true champion, Oliveira’s actions continued to speak louder than words when he submitted Justin Gaethje with a first round rear-naked choke after the weight mishap.
The performance continued to highlight Oliveira’s incredible evolution as a fighter, going toe-to-toe with Gaethje on the feet, hurting him before the submission sequence came and extended his UFC record.
“When you’re fighting someone that will only take you down, you have to train what you do best,” 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 Oct. 22. … I’m ready. I’ll win this guy,” he concluded. “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.”