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Charles Oliveira: ‘No UFC featherweight wants to grapple with me’

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William Lucas, Inovafoto

Charles Oliveira and Max Holloway enter their first UFC main event Sunday night in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and the winner could be one win away from a shot at the featherweight title.

Holloway enters the UFC Fight Night 74 main event coming off six straight wins with five finishes, but "do Bronx", who has submitted three opponents in his four-fight winning streak, uses his first five-round fight as extra motivation against the Hawaiian.

"I’m thrilled to be doing my first main event in a city that hasn’t hosted a UFC event before," Oliveira told MMAFighting.com. "My camp was great, and I can’t wait to get in there to fight and win and show that I’m here to stay.

"I’ve been fighting in the UFC for five years now and it’s about time I’m headlining a card," he continued. "I’m coming off good wins and they put me in a main event against a tough opponent, and I’ll do my best to come out with another win."

Oliveira signed with the UFC in 2010 after racking up a perfect 12-0 record, and seven of those wins took place in one-night tournaments. However, according to the Brazilian, entering a 25-minute fight is completely different then facing multiple opponents in one night.

"I fought three opponents in one night two or three times, but never five rounds," he said. "I changed my training a bit, worked hard on my cardio and every aspect of the game. I fought more rounds in training, so I’m ready."

Holloway enters UFN 74 coming off a huge submission win over Cub Swanson, but "do Bronx" doubts he will try to grapple with him in Canada.

"Max deserves my respect. He fights really well," he said. "He has great boxing and muay thai, and has an excellent jiu-jitsu when he goes to the ground too, so it’s going to be a great fight. But no UFC featherweight wants to grapple with me. They all want to stand and trade with me, and that’s why I focused more on my stand-up game lately so I can surprise them in there. I’m ready for all areas. The entire world will see the evolution of my striking in this fight."

Oliveira wants a shot at the featherweight title in 2016, and he believes the UFC could book a rematch with Frankie Edgar after he beats Holloway on Sunday.

"Every win gets you one step closer," he said. "I’m ranked at No. 7 today, and my focus is to win to become a top 5. I want what every fighter wants, to fight for the UFC title. Frankie deserved a shot at the title already, but it’s always up to the UFC to decide. If everything goes right and I beat Max -- and I will --, a rematch with Frankie might happen next."

Edgar and Oliveira fought for three rounds at UFC 162, and the former lightweight champion came out victorious via unanimous decision. "do Bronx" hasn’t lost since, and he’s confident he would get his hands raised in a rematch.

"I still blame myself a lot for that fight with Frankie. I made a lot of mistakes," Oliveira said. "My coaches asked me to stay away from him, but I kept clinching and giving him the opportunity to throw punches and get takedowns. I’m listening to my coaches now, opened my mind, and I’m sure the fight would be different now. It would be a new fight, and I’d win."

If everything goes according to Oliveira’s plans and he really beats Holloway and Edgar, he expects Jose Aldo to still be the 145-pound champion. "Scarface" will meet interim champion Conor McGregor on Dec. 12, but "do Bronx" sees his fellow Brazilian on a different level.

"Every fight is different, but I believe Aldo has beaten opponents that are way tougher," Oliveira said. "McGregor talks a lot, but he’s also really tough and deserves our respect. He’s tough, and it’s going to be a tough fight, but I believe the belt will stay in Brazil."