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Alex Oliveira happy to 'open the card' for Ronda Rousey’s return, but picks Amanda Nunes to win at UFC 207

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UFC Fight Night 96 photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Stepping inside the UFC Octagon for the fourth time in 2016, Alex Oliveira is honored to be part of the event that will mark the return of Ronda Rousey.

Rousey hasn’t fought since November of 2015, when she lost the UFC bantamweight championship to Holly Holm, and challenges current champion Amanda Nunes in the main event of UFC 207 on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas.

“Cowboy" Oliveira, who faces Tim Means in the preliminary portion of the card at the T-Mobile Arena, says that one of the things that got him pumped up for the fight is the fact that he will be able to watch Rousey compete after his fight.

"I’m ready and focused,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. "I’m f***ing happy to be fighting at the same event of Ronda Rousey. I’m proud and thrilled.

"My dream was to watch Ronda fight, fight on the same event. And I’m fighting, too. She’s fighting a Brazilian, and I will open the card. I’m so happy, brother. I’m fighting a tough opponent, and I’m happy.”

Despite being a fan of Rousey and her career in mixed martial arts, Oliveira picks her to lose to Nunes on Friday night.

“(Rousey) went after her dream, and she doesn't back down from a fight. She goes for it,” he said. "I'll cheer for her, but the belt will come back to Brazil. That’s a fact.”

Coming off back-to-back wins under the UFC banner, Oliveira doesn't plan to return to the lightweight division - especially after missing weight for his 155-pound clash with Will Brooks in October.

"I think I’ll stay in this division,” Oliveira said. "Let’s see what happens. I’m getting stronger, my weight is going up, so I think I’ll really stay at 170 pounds. I don’t suffer to make this weight and I train well, so we’ll see what happens."

After a “great" training camp at TFT and ATS in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, “Cowboy” expects to make a statement against a “tough opponent” in Means at UFC 207.

"It’s going to be a brawl,” Oliveira said. "Standing or on the ground, it’s going to be a brawl. I’m happy, I’m focused. I like to fight when I’m happy. I’ll run through him to end the year well."

"It will end with a knockout,” he continued. "He will also come to stand and bang, and the first one that lands will drop him. My hands are sharp. The first one I land, he will go down. I trained with he best, so I’m confident."