Former UFC champion Oliveira will get his chance to reclaim the vacant lightweight gold when he takes on Makhachev in the headlining bout of UFC 280 on Oct. 22 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Oliveira’s head coach, Diego Lima, had previously dismissed the potential outing for the event. Although the date and location of the card were initially suggested by Makhachev’s camp, his longtime friend Khabib Nurmagomedov wanted him to fight Oliveira in his home country of Brazil.
Now that they’ll be competing in Makhachev’s backyard, “do Bronx” is willing to go a step further and offer another perceived advantage to the Dagestani.
In an appearance on the MMA Fighting podcast “Trocação Franca,” Oliveira suggested a special proposal for his next bout.
“I’m going to his home, where they wanted the fight, where they think they will beat me,” Oliveira said. “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. 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.” (transcribed by MMA Fighting)
Oliveira Believes He’ll Be a Tough Matchup for Makhachev
Makhachev is touted by Khabib as the guy who will carry his mantle and even go further in his accomplishments. Considering his resume so far, the 30-year-old Russian makes a solid case for beating Oliveira.
However, he hasn’t faced an opponent who’s similar to the lightweight top contender in terms of matching striking abilities with the on-par ground game.
According to Oliveira, he’ll be a stylistic nightmare for the grappling proficient.
“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.”
Oliveira Goes Into the Bout as an Underdog
Islam is currently on a 10-fight win streak, with notable wins over Bobby Green, Dan Hooker, and Thiago Moises. He looked dominant in his recent performances and completely shut out Green in his last fight.
His knockout win over Gleison Tibau at UFC 220 in Jan. 2018 stands out as well considering how hard a time Khabib had against Tibau back in 2012, with some claiming it to be his toughest fight.
With only one professional loss in his career, Islam opened as a -255 betting favorite while the uncrowned champion was marked as a +215 underdog, as per Bet Online.