Oliveira broke his silence on the situation Monday afternoon through his Instagram stories, revealing the decision was made after realizing he wasn’t able to train properly for the New Jersey card.
“I wasn’t able to train, I got injured during wrestling practice,” Oliveira said in Portuguese. “I tried to train, I tried to do everything I could but we couldn’t, so we pulled out of the fight. [Fighting at UFC 288] would be great because I would be fighting on the same night of two teammates, ‘Willycat’ [Daniel Santos] and Rolando [Bedoya], but God knows all things. We’ll continue working and stay focused.”
The former UFC lightweight champion had his long winning streak snapped by Islam Makhachev this past October in Abu Dhabi and was hoping that a win over Dariush could set up a rematch for later this year. Oliveira did not reveal a timetable for his return to training nor if UFC 289 is a viable option.
“I have to stay [away from training] for a few days so I can go back to training soon, and then we’ll reschedule the fight,” Oliveira said. “I’ll be back to training pretty soon. That’s it, I had a small injury and decided to pull out so I wouldn’t fight injured. We’ve made that mistake once and I didn’t want to do it again. … We’re taking one step back so we can take one, two, three steps forward soon.”