Charles Oliveira has been a UFC fighter for over a decade and has suffered some tough losses over the years, but that never stopped him from chasing UFC gold.
But his submission defeat to Islam Makhachev? It hit different than setbacks of the past.
Oliveira came up short in his attempt to reclaim his lightweight title against Makhachev at UFC 280, losing via second-round submission. Now booked in his comeback fight against Beneil Dariush on May 6 at UFC 288, which could decide the next No. 1 contender, Oliveira admitted that the Makhachev loss is a night he never plans to revisit — even on film.
“I don’t even watch that fight. I haven’t watched it,” Oliveira said Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “I have watched all the fights that I’ve lost, but that fight is the only one I haven’t watched and won’t watch.
“He was better than me that night and won. Next time we meet, I won’t change anything, I’ll continue being the same Charles moving forward. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Dariush hoped to be next in line for Makhachev after scoring eight straight UFC victories, including decisions over Tony Ferguson and Mateusz Gamrot, but now will have to get past Oliveira first. The former champ thinks a title shot is also on the line for him at UFC 288, even though he already lost to Makhachev in dominant fashion less than a year ago.
“If God blesses me and it’s the moment and I get to beat ‘Benny,’ I’ll be the next challenger by the end of the year, no doubt,” Oliveira said. “I deserve that.”
“We’re talking about the UFC and the UFC thinks too much about things, but there’s definitely no other name to be mentioned,” he continued. “Beating Dariush, I’m the next title contender. I’m the man, I deserve it. I went to fight in my opponent’s hometown, so I’m next in line. Winning this fight on May 6, I’m definitely next.”
Oliveira had won 11 consecutive fights prior to his setback against Makhachev, a run that included finishes over the likes of Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Justin Gaethje, and Kevin Lee. Now he has vengeance on his mind — and he’s coming with all he has in May.
“[Dariush] is a guy who deserves all respect in the world, but I never came to a fight with this much hunger,” Oliveira said. “I’m hungry to win. I want to win, I want to become champion again. We have to go step by step, and then, [after] winning against ‘Benny,’ I’m definitely the next contender.”