Former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira wanted his next fight to take place in his home country, but does not mind having it in the United Arab Emirates, too. Paired up against Islam Makhachev for title fight at UFC 280 in October, ‘Do Bronx’ detailed the negotiations that preceded the booking.
In an conversation with Ag Fight, Oliveira even emphasized how he actually wanted to take on former double champion Conor McGregor in Rio de Janeiro, but had to settle for Makhachev in Abu Dhabi. In fact, Charles says the only reason why he’s facing Islam in the UAE is because the Russian’s team wouldn’t accept going to Brazil.
“The negotiation wasn’t hard. Charles is the most sincere guy in the world. Everyone knows who I wanted to fight (Conor McGregor). I don’t think this Makhachev fight should have happened now. They talked so much about how they would take the fight in Brazil, That’s a lie. If they had accepted to fight in Brazil, we would be fighting in January. I talked so much about that Rio card.”
“The truth is that they talked, talked, talked, but took the fight to where they wanted.” Oliveira said. “It’s ok. The Octagon is the same anywhere in the world, in any country. Charles will be 100% ready.”
Now less than two months away from UFC 280, Oliveira explains he will be going to Abu Dhabi for roughly three weks before fight night to get used to the country’s timezone and weather. Additionally, Charles hopes the broadcasting times won’t have him fighting too early in the morning or late at night, in order not to hinder his performance.
“I asked Allan Nascimento these last few days, Allan has fought there before. He said he didn’t feel a thing. He said that there was the timezone issue, of course and that it was very hot. I told Diego (Lima, Charles’ coach) we’d be doing something different this time. I’ve never wanted to go to the United States so far ahead, but this time I’m going over there (Abu Dhabi) about 20 days before the fight.”
“I think 15 of us are going.” Charles said. “That’s practically my whole team. Guys who are part of my camp are coming with me. The most important thing is to get there and focus. I want the UFC to understand us when it comes to the broadcast, to not make it so early so we can wake up at the right time. We want to try to make it perfect so we can have a perfect fight.”
In his last outing, Oliveira (33-8-1 NC) submitted Justin Gaethje back in May, but was stripped of his title due to not making weight. Nonetheless, the victory put the 32-year-old on an 11-fight winning streak, having beat some of the most notable names in the division, such as Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson and Michael Chandler, among others. Charles’ last loss dates back to a December 2017 KO defeat to Paul Felder.
Now, Oliveira is expected to face Makhachev at UFC 280’s main event, on October 22. The card is scheduled to take place at the Etihad Arena, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.