In a sudden turn of events, the highly anticipated UFC 294 lightweight championship bout between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev is off. Oliveira, who was gearing up for a rematch with Makhachev after his victory over Beneil Dariush, suffered an unfortunate injury during a sparring session that has left fight fans in disbelief. The former UFC champion revealed that he’s dealing with a significant cut over his right eye, which subsequently dashed his hopes of a title fight this Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
In an exclusive interview with MMA Fighting, Oliveira opened up about his disappointment and the road ahead. The deep gash, caused by a collision with a training partner while defending a takedown, has led to an extended period of non-impact training. Oliveira was quick to point out that his dream of becoming a champion is temporarily postponed, but he remains resolute.
“Destiny wanted us out of this fight,” Oliveira said with a touch of resignation. However, his unwavering faith in God keeps him optimistic that greater things are on the horizon. Oliveira’s determination to leave a lasting legacy in the sport and his pursuit of the UFC lightweight belt is unwavering.
Despite the financial implications, Oliveira is unwavering in his commitment to achieving greatness. “If it was for money, I’d definitely be fighting because it was a lot of money,” he confessed. However, for the Brazilian fighter, it’s about legacy, about creating a story that future generations can admire. Oliveira’s journey to the top is more than just about wealth; it’s about proving himself as one of the greats in the sport.
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Now, with Oliveira sidelined due to injury, fans are left wondering what’s next for the former champion. His managers, Diego Lima and Jorge Patino, will engage in negotiations with the UFC to chart the course ahead. Two options are being considered: a title shot or a potentially lucrative bout with Conor McGregor.
Oliveira is the number one contender in the division, and he made it clear that he has been eagerly awaiting a bout with the Irish superstar. “Charles Oliveira against Conor McGregor, a money fight,” he declared. Both fighters have a substantial fan following and the potential for a fight between them promises huge financial rewards.
However, the decision ultimately rests with McGregor, and Oliveira has thrown down the gauntlet, willing to meet at any weight class and location. This challenge to McGregor underscores Oliveira’s eagerness for a high-stakes showdown.
Meanwhile, Islam Makhachev’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, suggested that Oliveira has “missed his shot” and proposed Justin Gaethje as the next in line for the title. Gaethje is under the same management as Makhachev, which led to questions regarding the impartiality of this decision.
Oliveira responded to these claims with humility and respect. He stressed his accomplishments, records, and the groundbreaking feats he has achieved throughout his career. Oliveira questioned the intentions behind these statements, underlining that he is the top contender and that the decision of who is next should align with the sport’s principles and rankings.
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Oliveira also shared his thoughts on the upcoming UFC 294 main event between Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski. In what is being dubbed a “champion vs. champion rematch,” Oliveira expects a closely contested battle, much like their previous encounter. Volkanovski’s late replacement status adds an extra layer of intrigue, as he aims to cement his legacy by becoming a two-division champion.
“It’s going to be a great fight,” Oliveira expressed his anticipation. “Close, again, and the one with the best strategy will win this fight.” He respects the skills of both fighters and acknowledges the pressure on Volkanovski to prove his mettle, setting the stage for a showdown of epic proportions.
As Oliveira continues to heal and plot his return to the Octagon, the MMA world waits with bated breath to see whether he’ll have the chance to challenge for the coveted lightweight belt in the future or step into the octagon against the enigmatic Conor McGregor. One thing is for sure, Charles Oliveira’s resilience and determination remain undaunted as he seeks to etch his name in the annals of UFC history.