Charles Oliveira Offers To Start Islam Makhachev Fight “Playing Guard”

After months of speculation, Charles Oliveira has a new opponent. 

The former 155lb champion is scheduled to face Islam Makhachev at UFC 280 on Oct. 22. Oliveria has a proposition for his Russian opponent, who is known for his elite grappling and sambo background. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt is open to starting the lightweight title fight by showcasing his skills on the mat.

“Want to start the fight on the ground? I’ll start playing guard. It won’t make any difference to me. Again, I’m telling everyone this, I’m the division’s biggest problem and you’re not understanding,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. “I don’t care who it is and when it is. If you want to trade on the feet, come for it, I have firepower in my hands. If you want to take me down, do it.”

The lightweight title fight was made official for Abu Dhabi last week. Two months ago, Oliveira was stripped of his title in controversial fashion. He missed weight by half a pound, but insisted that the scale was incorrect. Oliveira went on to finish Justin Gathje by submission at UFC 274. 

The Brazilian native is on an 11-fight winning streak with victories over Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, and Tony Ferguson. Oliveira believes he is the uncrowned king of the 155-pound division.

“You want peace? We want twice of it. You want war? War is coming, it’s on October 22. … I’m ready. I’ll win this guy. Listen to me, I’ll leave a gigantic legacy. I get near the big names of the sport and they feel bothered. Why is that? I haven’t done anything,” Oliveira said. “The reality is they see how much I’m evolving. That’s the reality. The way I talk has changed, the way I get dressed has changed, the way I arrive has changed. Everything has changed.” (H/T MMA Fighting).

Charles Oliveira’s Next Challenge

A longtime teammate of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev has been climbing the ranks of the lightweight division. He is on an 11-fight winning streak with wins over Bobby Green, Dan Hooker, Thiago Moisés, and Drew Dober. Makhachev last fought in February and earned a first-round TKO win against Green.

For months, the Russian native has advocated for a title shot with the goal of being UFC champion. He finally gets his wish against one of the best grapplers in the UFC. 

“October 22, I’m bringing UFC Lightweight Belt back to Dagestan Inshallah,” Makhachev said on Twitter

Since the fight announcement, Makhachev has opened as a -255 favorite over Oliveira. The uncrowned champion has no problem being the underdog.

“The octagon is the same wherever, in a street in the favela or in Dubai or anywhere else,” Oliveira said. “It’s just the two of us when the cage door closes. I have all the respect in the world for Islam and his story and what he’s done, but we have to weigh things, the names I’ve fought and the names he’s fought. It’s different already. I’m way better than him, and now we’ll see who’s the best.” (H/T MMA Fighting)