RIO DE JANEIRO — Charles Oliveira has his entire year planned.
The former UFC lightweight champion is targeting an octagon return for May and wants an opponent big enough, one that “sells and the UFC thinks that I will fight for the belt next with a win.” by the end of 2023, he revealed during a Q&A with fans prior to the UFC 283 ceremonial weigh-ins Friday in Rio de Janeiro.
“We have to aim high,” Oliveira said. “Maybe fight in the United States in May and then come back to fighting in Brazil by the end of the year — if it’s in Sao Paulo, even better —, and who knows, maybe fight for the belt again. That would be great.”
Oliveira was asked about a potential rematch with Islam Makhachev, who took his belt this past October in Abu Dhabi, and said he wouldn’t change a thing in his camp for a second clash with the Russian star.
“With all due respect, I had 10 minutes off on a bad night,” Oliveira said. “I wouldn’t change anything to fight Islam Makhachev. This fight will happen again. Be sure of that, this fight will happen. I’ll fight in April or May, no matter who that is, and God will bless me with a win, and I’ll have my rematch with Islam Makhachev by the end of the year.”
“Do Bronx” confirmed during the Q&A that he was offered a spot on the UFC 283 card in Rio de Janeiro, but chose to turn it down. He did not reveal the name of the opponent offered. In the end, the pay-per-view show will be headlined by local fighters Glover Teixeira and Deiveson Figueiredo competing for UFC titles against Jamahal Hill and Brandon Moreno, respectively.
“There’s no point coming in thirsty and not thinking with the head, to think with the heart,” Oliveira said. “If I were to think with my heart I would definitely be part of this card,. It was offered a fight, and I thought quite a lot about it, but the timing is fighting in May and maybe fight for the title in Sao Paulo by the end of the year. Let’s make it happen.”