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Charles Oliveira thought about quitting MMA early in career: ‘People used to say I’d never make it’

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UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira admits to having thought retiring earlier in his career.

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The newly crowned UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira did not have an easy journey to the belt.

After 28 Octagon appearances and 40 professional outings, it may come as no surprise that ‘Do Bronx’ even considered quitting when things were not quite going his way. However, the Brazilian is glad he stuck around and overcame all adversities.

In an interview with Super Lutas, Oliveira detailed how the beginning of his career was difficult, which made him consider giving up. Now that he is the champion and looks back to those times, Charles believes all the struggle was worth it and part of what it takes to become a fighter.

“I have thought about quitting, in the very beginning,” Oliveira said. “Looking back, I see it was all worth it. to go through everything I went through in order to get where I am today. Everything I’ve been through, it’s summarized in what I ask everyone nowadays. People say ‘I want to be a fighter’. Are you willing to train? I ask them: ‘Are you willing to pay the price?’. It’s not a low price, it’s very high. When you’re nobody, you have to give up family time, friends, partying, women, everything. All for a dream. Just like I want it, there are two, three million people who also want it. When you start to shine, it bothers people. Unfortunately, that’s the bad side of human beings. When you start to bother them, people don’t want you to do well. It’s a painful price.”

Despite the emotional description of the ordeals Charles had to go through early into his career, he cannot say there are no good sides to being a fighter, especially after becoming the champion. Once Do Bronx came back to his home town of Guaruja (in the state of Sao Paulo) and received a hero’s welcome from his people, the Brazilian admits it was one of the most emotional moments of his career.

“When we came back to Guaruja, (there was) a firetruck, thousands of people,m” Oliveira said. “My mom would say, ‘There’s so many people to take pictures with’. I’d tell her, ‘let them on (the truck)’. People hugging me, crying. There was an old lady who called me the new Ayrton Senna. Young people wanting to touch my belt. When I got home and my dad could touch my belt, it was like a movie played in my head. My dad telling me years ago that I was going to make it, that I was going to be a champion. Everything we’ve been through. People used to say I would never make it. I started to cry and remembered everything I went through to get here. Today, the gold is in our hands. It’s a mix of feelings.’

With the win over Michael Chandler at UFC 262, Charles Oliveira (31-8-1 NC) extended his current win streak to an impressive nine straight victories, with eight finishes. During this time, Do Bronx beat some notable names in the division, such as Tony Ferguson, Kevin Lee, Jim Miller and Clay Guida. The 31-year-old’s last loss happened in December 2017, when he got TKO’d by Paul Felder.