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Charles Oliveira reveals he won’t be ready to fight Islam Makhachev at UFC 294 in October

UFC 289: Oliveira v Dariush Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Charles Oliveira wants another shot at the lightweight title but he won’t be ready to face reigning champion Islam Makhachev at UFC 294, which is scheduled on Oct. 21 in Abu Dhabi.

Following an impressive win over Beneil Dariush in May, all signs pointed towards Oliveira getting the next crack at Makhachev but now the Brazilian has revealed that October will be too soon to book his next fight. Instead, Oliveira is holding out hope to face Makhachev later in the year, although that seems unlikely with the Dagestani fighter almost certainly serving as a lynchpin to the UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi.

“So I’m going to be honest with you, we don’t have nothing yet,” Oliveira told TSN about his next fight. “They are still waiting but to be honest October, it’s too soon for me. It’s too soon, especially if the fight’s going to be [in Abu Dhabi].

“I’m really going to be ready in November/December but October is too soon. But we don’t have nothing yet.”

UFC president Dana White said it made sense for Oliveira to get the next crack at Makhachev after he dispatched Dariush but now it looks like the promotion will have to pivot to alternate plans if the lightweight title is still going up for grabs in October.

It’s possible that the upcoming UFC 291 main event between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje could get the nod instead, although it will be impossible to say for certain until after that fight goes down on July 29. That would be an even quicker turnaround than Oliveira, who fought in May, but the chance to compete for UFC gold might convince Poirier or Gaethje to take that risk.

As for Oliveira, he’s still up in the air about his next move, although he’s willing to wait for the title shot even if that means sitting out a little while longer than initially expected.

“So I’ll be honest with you, I just need to wait,” Oliveira said. “I’m a UFC employee so I just need to wait. For me, it doesn’t matter.

“The one thing I can tell you for sure is I’m not ready for October But November/December, I will be ready. I’m just waiting. Let’s see what they’re going to do.”

The only thing Oliveira knows for certain is that he plans on capturing the UFC lightweight title again after his belt was actually stripped from him after missing weight ahead of his own fight against Gaethje in May 2022 and then he was unable to win it back after falling to Makhachev seven months later.

“I want to be the champ again and I will be the champ again,” Oliveira said. “So now I just need to wait. I just need to wait and see what they’re going to do. I can tell you I’m going to be the champ again, it’s just a matter of when.”

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