Welterweight banger Alex Oliveira is not too impressed by his next opponent’s undefeated record. Paired up against newcomer Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 254, ‘Cowboy’ believes he will be the first fighter to give the Kazakh a real hard time in the cage.
In an interview with Combate, Oliveira talked about his intentions in the division. First, Cowboy wants to finish Rakhmonov to end the year with three wins, then he intends to be matched up against any man in the division’s top 15 and begin a new climb towards the elite from there.
“It means a lot to me to finish the year with three blessings,” Oliveira said. “I want to start 2021 fighting a top 15 name. I’ll win by knockout and ask for someone in the top 15. I don’t want anyone behind me. I want to face the guys ahead of me. My parents taught me to take things slowly, so that’s how I’ll get to the top. I’m fighting an undefeated guy now. I think this fight is already good enough to show I have the potential to be back in the top 15. If I don’t go straight to the rankings, then I’ll fight someone ranked next.”
Despite taking the fight on short notice after Rakhmonov’s original opponent, Elizeu Zaleski, was forced out, Cowboy still believes he will have the upper hand in the Octagon. According to Alex, Shavkat’s record may be impressive, but it does not mean his opponents were as dangerous as Oliveira.
“I watched his fights,” Oliveira said. “He’s a knockout artist, a good striker. A really tough guy. He’s big, but he’s not two. I also noticed some holes in his game, which I’ll expose in the fight. I’ll show the world he hasn’t faced a really tough guy yet. This will be his first time and I’ll put a loss on his record. I’m much faster and much stronger than him. He only faced low-level guys. I’m high-level. I’ve been working for the best promotion in the world for years. I’ve fought and defeated guys much tougher than him. Victory will be mine, for sure.”
Currently on a two-fight winning streak, Alex Oliveira (22-8-1-1 NC) defeated Max Griffin and Peter Sobotta, in March and July of this year respectively. Before that, the 32-year-old was on a three-fight losing skid, with defeats to Gunnar Nelson, Mike Perry and Nicolas Dalby.
Now, Alex Oliveira is expected to meet Shavkat Rakhmonov at UFC 254, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on October 24. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a title unification bout between lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and interim title-holder, Justin Gaethje.