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Charles Oliveira says he’s a ‘legend’ after breaking Royce Gracie’s UFC record

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Sao Paulo-Oliveira vs Giagos
Charles Oliveira made history with a submission win over Christos Giagos at UFC Sao Paulo.
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Charles Oliveira had a perfect night at UFC Sao Paulo.

The 28-year-old lightweight submitted Christos Giagos at the Ibirapuera gymnasium Saturday night, breaking Royce Gracie’s record for most submissions in UFC history and pocketing another post-fight bonus, his 12th in the company.

”I will never forget tonight. To surpass Royce at age 28, I will never forget this moment,” Oliveira told the media after his win. “Man, I’ve surpassed Royce, the No. 1, in the UFC.”

With 11 of his 12 UFC wins coming by way of submission, Oliveira believes he can be seen as an all-time great now.

”I’m a legend now,” Oliveira said. “But I’ll keep my feet on the ground. We will break more records, we will become champion, but it’s one step at a time. We broke a record today, surpassed Royce, but there are many people with better jiu-jitsu than me in the UFC. I have to train more, and that’s what I’m doing.”

Like he has done before and after his recent UFC fights at lightweight, Oliveira once again asked for a chance to go back to featherweight. Promising to be a “new Charles” after moving full time to Chute Boxe Diego Lima in Sao Paulo, “do Bronx” says his new mindset of taking no breaks from training help him stay in shape.

If he’s given a chance to go back to 145 pounds, Oliveira says he will no longer take short-notice fights.

”First of all, don’t accept fights with 10, 15 days’ notice. The fight that made me move up to lightweight was with 20 days’ notice in Mexico. I need more time,” Oliveira said, mentioning his loss to Ricardo Lamas. “I’m on a new team now, working with nutritionists and physical therapists, so it’s a different structure I had in the past.

”If the UFC gives me an opportunity at featherweight in two months, no doubt I’ll make weight. If I have a one- or two-month camp, I’ll definitely make weight.”

Winner of three of four fights since moving up to 155 pounds, submitting Will Brooks, Clay Guida and Giagos, Oliveira aims at the most dangerous opponents at 145 pounds.

”They say ‘this guy doesn’t want to fight, that guy doesn’t want to fight.’ Throw me among the five best,” Oliveira said. “Who are they? Jose Aldo, Renato Moicano, that Russian [Zabit Magomedsharipov] no one wants to fight. I’ll fight anyone. I’ve never turned down a fight in the UFC, and I’m here to fight.”