Alex Oliveira completes 11 months as a UFC fighter on Feb. 21, and he will celebrate it inside the Octagon.
Going for his fifth win in six bouts, the Brazilian "Cowboy" steps in on less than a month’s notice against Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 83, and gets this opportunity thanks to his manager Alex Davis.
"I have to thank my manager Alex Davis for this fight with Cerrone. He always knew I wanted to fight Cerrone, and asked for it when he heard Tim Means was out. It’s my time now," Oliveira told MMAFighting.com. "I also have to thank my team TFT, Tata, Philip and Andre Tadeu for getting me ready for this fight."
Oliveira, who like the other "Cowboy" is always down to fight any time, fought three of his four UFC bouts on short notice. Originally a lightweight, he’s fighting at 170 pounds for the third time in the UFC, and expects a stand-up war in Pittsburgh.
"He’s the type of fighter that puts on beautiful fights, stand-up wars, and that’s what fans want to see," Oliveira said. "It’s going to be a battle, fireworks. I expect five rounds of stand-up battle, a war in the middle of the Octagon. But if the hand lands in the first round, we might see a finish, and I like it. But I see this going five rounds of war."
With a 2-0 UFC record as a welterweight and a 1-1 record as a lightweight, Oliveira might stick at 170 pounds after UFC Fight Night 83.
"Now that they took our IV away, I have to talk to my doctors and Alex Davis to see what we’ll do," said Oliveira, who didn’t use IVs to rehydrate for his 155-pound bout with Piotr Hallmann in November.
For that bout, Oliveira says he cut down from 202 to 155 pounds, moving back up to 183 on fight night.
"I’ll see how I feel after this fight," he said.
Oliveira stopped bull riding after he started fighting professionally, but jokes that his fight with Cerrone could determine who the real "cowboy" in the UFC is.
"That’s true, man. We’ll see who’s the cowboy," Oliveira laughed. "He got there first and I don’t want to take his spot, but two cowboys will clash now."
"But put two bulls here and we’ll see what happens," he laughs. "I loved [bull riding], but can’t do it anymore because of the injuries. I can’t stay out that long. But I miss it."