Those weren’t quite the words of Dominance MMA’s Ali Abdelaziz but the mixed martial arts manager and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt did acknowledge that Islam Makhachev will be treating ‘Do Bronx’ as the A-Side at UFC 280.
Oliveira is considered by many to be the uncrowned champion at 155 pounds after the Brazilian was controversially stripped of the title prior to his scheduled title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 278. He missed weight by half a pound, was stripped of the belt, and then went on to defeat Gaethje via submission after a wild first round that saw Oliveira dropped twice before getting the finish.
Abdelaziz paid his respects to Oliveira by labeling him the official champ ahead of his upcoming title fight with Makhachev in Abu Dhabi, with both men set to compete for the vacant lightweight championship in one of the most stacked UFC pay-per-view events of the year.
“Charles Oliveira is the UFC lightweight champion,” Abdelaziz, who manages Makhachev at Dominance MMA, told Canal Encarada (h/t Sportskeeda). “We are the contender, we just go there to try to challenge the champion to take something very very heavy from him.”
UFC 280: Oliveira vs. Makhachev is scheduled to take place Saturday, October 22, at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.