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‘Cowboy’ Oliveira only took short-notice UFC on FOX 29 fight because it’s against Carlos Condit

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Alex Oliveira was training in his hometown of Tres Rios, Brazil, when he found out that Carlos Condit was left without an opponent for UFC on FOX 29 after Matt Brown pulled out due to an injury.

Oliveira, who underwent the first surgery of his life earlier this year to fix a nose fracture, was back in training for a few weeks already, and his manager Alex Davis called with the offer to step in against Condit on April 14 in Glendale, Ariz.

“Cowboy” weighed 184.4 pounds when he accepted the welterweight fight, a lot lighter than the 203 pounds he carried two weeks before. Oliveira “knew” that he was close to getting an offer so he had already started slimming down, but his original plan was to return to action around June.

On Wednesday morning, 48 hours before the official weigh-ins, Oliveira's coach Andre Tadeu told MMA Fighting that "Cowboy" had nine pounds left to cut.

”The opportunity came and I took it right away,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting, confident that he will make weight. “It’s sooner than I expected, but it’s Carlos Condit, a former champion, a big name, so a win over this is very important for my career.”

In fact, Oliveira only accepted the fight on 11 days’ notice because Condit will be on the other side of the cage.

”I took it because it’s Carlos Condit. I really wanted to fight him,” Oliveira said. “He likes to brawl. He’s just like me, we fight for real. He will add a lot to my record. A win over him will bring me back to the rankings, God willing. I will defeat him, that’s for sure.”

Oliveira suffered the first TKO loss of his MMA career in his last UFC appearance, stopped by Yancy Medeiros in one of the best fights of 2017 — and having his nose broken in the process. The defeat snapped a five-fight unbeaten run for Oliveira, but Condit enters the cage at UFC on FOX 29 in a much different scenario.

The former interim champion lost three in a row in the Octagon, a close decision to Robbie Lawler, a quick submission versus Demian Maia, and a disappointing performance against Neil Magny, and desperately needs to get back on track.

”He hasn’t won since 2015, when he fought ‘Pitbull’ (Alves), so he will come with everything he has, no doubt, but he won’t get it done against me,” Oliveira said. “I want to build my name over him. It’s going to be a great fight. It’s going to be a war.”

”I know that an opportunity to take him down will come,” he continued, “but I want to trade with him, keep the fight standing. But we’ll see. If he gives me an opening to get him against the cage, take him down and take his neck or his foot, I’ll take it, but my goal is to trade with him.”