Charles Oliveira is gunning to fight Conor McGregor, but there is one condition that is incentive enough to pivot to Islam Makhachev. Oliveira says fighting for UFC gold in front of his countrymen and women may justify missing out on the McGregor payday.
Oliveira was stripped of the UFC lightweight championship in a somewhat controversial weight miss at UFC 274. Despite the setback, Oliveira defeated Justin Gaethje in one round to cement himself as the top contender. "Do Bronx" and his team rejected a proposed fight against Islam Makhachev in Abu Dhabi. Their desire is to fight in a neutral territory or, preferably, in Oliveira's native Brazil.
"That's the fight Islam wants, but Khabib [Nurmagomedov] always says they want to fight in Brazil," Oliveira told CBS Sports during UFC International Fight Week. "So if they want to come to Brazil, let's make it happen. I want to fight Conor in Brazil because that's the real money fight, but if they want to travel down to Brazil, I'm down for it."
Check out the full interview with Charles Oliveira below.
Oliveira, 32, has been a part of the UFC roster for 12 years. "Do Bronx" went on a 10-8 run during his first seven years with the promotion. What followed was a remarkable 11-0 stretch over four years that led him to the UFC title. Oliveira gives full credit to his daughter for the transformation.
"It was all about the birth of my daughter," Oliveira said. "When she came, I thought I must give her a better life. I must make money. I must win and I must make it all happen for her. Since then, you guys see what's going on."
The refined Oliveira experience extends beyond the fight itself. "Do Bronx" has evolved into a vicious finisher inside of the Octagon and a suave, cold-blooded killer during fight week. You can thank Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira for the latter.
"'Big Nog' told me to suit up more often and he gave me my first suit," Oliveira said. "Since then, I've been getting new ones and new ones. It just shows people that we're not only fighters but we also want to be the whole package."
Oliveira's look echoes Agent 47 from the "Hitman." HIs fighting stye is less covert and more in your face but equally as deadly.
"The reality is that I'm the problem in this division," Oliveira said. "The guys know my ground game. They don't want to go to the ground with me and they know my heart. If I go to the ground, I'm standing up again and I am beating them no matter what happens."