Matched up against Paul Felder at Saturday’s UFC 218 card in Detroit, “do Bronx” says he was “desperate" to return after almost eight months on the shelf. He doesn’t expect the shorter notice to be an issue when he enters the Octagon, and he isn’t worried about making weight either.
Oliveira didn’t have to cut all the way down to 145 pounds for this fight, but he wishes he did.
"I’ll be very light all fight week, make weight way before, and showing the UFC that this is not my division,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. "I had no easy fights ever since I joined the UFC. I signed with the UFC to fight the best. I ended up moving up to lightweight, which I didn’t want, and fought a really tough guy, Will Brooks, and beat him like nothing. I will put on another great fight with Paul Felder, have my hands raised, and show the UFC that I’m not here to play."
As he plans on going back to featherweight, Oliveira says one of his goals is to rematch 145-pound champion Max Holloway, who headlines UFC 218 against Jose Aldo. Holloway and Oliveira fought back in August 2015, and it ended in bizarre fashion when the Brazilian got injured in under two minutes.
“First of all, I have to congratulate Max because he beat great opponents and went to Rio, (Jose) Aldo’s home, and handled the pressure and finished the fight,” Oliveira said. “I've been asking for this rematch for a while. I know we’re far from each other now and it will take a while because he’s the champion and there are other guys ahead of me. I know it will take a while, but I really want this fight.
“It was a mistake to fight that night,” he continued. “I got injured 20 days before the fight but it was my first main event and I didn’t want to pull out. It wasn’t a punch or a kick that finished me, I got hurt. Going back to 145, one or two more fights and I really want to fight him. Not because he has the belt, but I’ve been asking for this fight for a long time.”
Oliveira has to get past Felder first, though, and is pretty sure of his opponent’s plan for the fight.
"I’m almost certain that no one at featherweight or lightweight wants to go to the ground with me,” he said. "They all want to keep it standing, and I’m pretty sure Paul Felder will do the same thing. He uses a lot of spinning punches and kicks, and I will show that my striking is getting better. This is the perfect opportunity for me to show that.”
Felder has never been knocked out before in his MMA career, and Oliveira has yet to score his first knockout victory since signing with the UFC in 2010.
"Everything in life has its perfect moments,” the Brazilian said. "He wasn’t knocked out before, so maybe this is the moment for me to knock him out and shut up the entire world. A fight is a fight, a hand connects and you get knocked out."