The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion is gearing up for a massive title fight rematch with his successor, Islam Makhachev, at UFC 294 on Oct. 21, 2023. Oliveira has been a stunningly flawless competitor on an all-time run since 2018. However, his lone loss in his past 13 outings (34-9, 1 “No Contest” overall) came via second round arm-triangle choke (watch highlights) to Makhachev.
Oliveira, 33, has noted how he wasn’t his best self on the night. He believes there are many reasons for that and one factor comes in the form of verbal warfare.
“That’s the only fight I talked crap, the fight against Islam,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. “I made a mistake. I won’t make that mistake again. We can only make mistakes once in life. When you make a mistake once, you can’t do it a second time, otherwise, you’ll go down nonstop. I won’t do it again.
“If you look at all of my fights, you’ll see that night I didn’t fight 10 percent of what I can do,” he continued. “Not a hater, not an analyst that is constantly saying crap, but people that understand fighting. If you watch everything I’ve said for all my fights, the only one where I’ve [gone outside my norm] a little bit and said some things, talked some crap, was the one against Islam, and I won’t make that mistake again.”
“Do Bronx” will enter his Makhachev rematch on the heels of a big first round technical knockout of Beneil Dariush (watch highlights) at UFC 289 in June 2023. The legendary Brazilian submission master was hopeful one of his two Makhachev encounters may come on home turf.
Instead, he’s settling for a reluctant return to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
“Last time he said he was ready and wanted to fight here [in Brazil], and I said it was bulls—t,” Oliveira said. “They never wanted to do the fight here, and it’s proven once again.
“A lot of people say I need to work on my mental game to be able to fight and win [in Abu Dhabi],” he continued. “Many people are saying I’m not ready for this fight. I was on the road right now and saw a video of Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, and ‘Benny’ [Beneil Dariush] all saying they would beat me [for our past fights], and you all saw what happened. There’s no point saying, ‘I’ll do this and I’ll do that.’ Let it all happen. I want to be myself on October 21, I want to be cool and close to people that really love me.”
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