In the main event of UFC 280 Charles Oliveira will battle Islam Makhachev for the vacant UFC lightweight title. The belt had of course been in Oliveira’s possession until a snafu on at UFC 274 resulted in the Brazilian vacating the title on the scales.
‘Do Bronx’ went on to win at UFC 274, stopping Justin Gaethje, to ensure the title remained vacant. His chance to reclaim the belt comes at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi against a man Oliveira doesn’t think deserves to be there.
During his pre-fight press conference Oliveira explained why he thinks Makhachev has been given a chance to fight for gold.
“I think Islam deserves all the respect in the world,” he said (ht MMA Junkie), “but I think he should’ve fought somebody maybe in the top five like I did, not just surf on someone else’s wave and skip the line like he did.”
Oliveira then clarified that he thinks Makhachev’s title shot is because of his close friendship with former champ Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“For sure, this fight is only happening because of him,” he said.
“It’s for the history and for everything (Khabib has) done,” Oliveira continued. “If it was any other guy, he would’ve had to walk the walk that I had to walk, knocking on people’s doors trying to get into a top-five (match-up). The reason why this fight is happening is because of him. That’s the real.”
Regardless of why he was matched up with Makhachev, Oliveira said he was confident of being able to finish Nurmagomedov’s protege and restart his reign as UFC champion.
“I’m ready. I think anyone needs to believe and want whatever is best for them. If we go down to the ground, he’s basically facing the biggest finisher in the UFC. If he wants to stand up, we’re gonna stand up. I’m here to make history again.”
After years of inconsistent performances, Oliveira hit his stride as a UFC lightweight in 2018. Since that year he’s gone 11-0 and claimed a number of gaudy records including most finishes and most performance of the night awards in UFC history.