Charles Oliveira took a short-notice fight against Clay Guida at UFC 225, and that’s only possible now that he’s competing at lightweight. Yet, his goal still is to go back to 145 pounds next.
“Do Bronx” has asked for another chance to move down to the featherweight division before and after his last couple of fights in the UFC, a win over Will Brooks and a loss to Paul Felder, and it’s no different in the lead up to Saturday’s clash with Guida in Chicago.
”The UFC wants what’s best for the athlete, and the best for me is to go back to the featherweight division,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. “Lightweights are heavier and bigger than me. I walk around 166 pounds, and other lightweights come down from 198, so they are stronger than me. My goal is not to get stronger, but walk around 166 and make 145 easier. After this fight, I’ll ask one more time. I’ll sit down with my manager and the UFC and see what we can do.”
Oliveira agreed to face Guida on 11 days’ notice. He wasn’t training at full force, but since his goal is to go back to featherweight, Oliveira is staying lighter to prove he can make 145 pounds again despite a few weight-cutting issues he’s had in the past.
The jiu-jitsu specialist holds wins over names that are currently ranked among the best featherweights in the UFC, like Jeremy Stephens and Darren Elkins, but has also lost to contenders in Ricardo Lamas, Frankie Edgar, Cub Swanson and champion Max Holloway.
To get a winning streak together again, the 28-year-old Oliveira knows what he has to do in his 20th appearance inside the Octagon.
”I think I have to go down to featherweight,” he said. “That’s where I should stay, where fights will be more equal. I’m training to evolve and move forward in the ranking.
”My friends joke that I’m a young veteran in the UFC. I’m happy to be fighting for the 20th time in the UFC, that’s not easy. Many people get in and get out of the UFC, and I’ve never faced easy opponents in the UFC. I’ve only fought tough opponents, so I’m happy to be part of the UFC for eight years. I’m here to make history and give something better to my family.”
Before he asks for another chance at featherweight, Oliveira needs to get past Guida in Chicago. And even though he’s taking for fight on short notice and barely had time to come up with specific training for “The Carpenter”, “Do Bronx” is confident.
”Everybody knows where I come from and how my jiu-jitsu is, training at Macaco Gold Team, but I also work on my striking at Chute Boxe Diego Lima,” Oliveira said, “so I’m prepared on the feet and on the ground.”
“The strength difference was too much [against Felder],” he continued. “I tried a few submissions and went for it, but got tired. I’ll have no rush this time. It will come on the right time. That’s what I learned with that loss. No rush.”