‘Islam Was Better Than Me’

MMA News

‘Islam Was Better Than Me’

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

The former UFC lightweight champ speaks on his disappointing second round title loss at UFC 280.

Charles Oliveira had a tough 2022. First he had his lightweight title stripped from him for missing weight at UFC 274 by half a pound. There was even some evidence that backstage scales had been messed with, leading to the whole debacle. He’d go on to beat Justin Gaethje the next day via first round submission, but he didn’t get to go home to Brazil the official champion.

Then at UFC 280 he lost to Islam Makhachev in a battle for his old 155 pound belt, which was sitting vacant at the time. It’s unclear what’s next for “Do Bronx,” but the former lightweight champion sounded zen about the defeat and the end of his impressive 11-fight win streak.

“Against Makhachev, I didn’t feel any pressure,” Oliveira said in an interview with Super Lutas. “He was just better than me. I haven’t watched that fight back yet. It doesn’t make any difference to me. It wasn’t a bad night, it was just fifteen bad minutes. Ten to twenty bad minutes. There’s nothing else to say. You know I always tell the truth. I already thought about it, but there’s no real explanation.”

Oliveira went on to say he felt great coming into the fight and had no excuse.

“I wouldn’t change anything in a rematch,” he declared. “I know how much I trained. As far as the fight goes, what can I say other than that Islam was better than me. I wouldn’t change the camp nor the weight cut, I wouldn’t change absolutely anything. I don’t know exactly what happened, but Islam was better than me on that night.”

For now, Charles Oliveira is resting and recouping after a busy rollercoaster year and a half that saw him fight Michael Chandler to win the lightweight title, Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, and Islam Makhachev. That’s a pretty wild slate for anyone.

According to Oliveira’s coach Diego Lima, the UFC offered Charles a spot on the upcoming UFC 283 card in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But after some discussions with his team, “Do Bronx” decided to rest up instead.

“I talked it over with Charles,” Lima said (in another Super Lutas interview). “He’s not injured, but there’s an emotional stress. It’s way beyond physical. Charles is the only fighter that has faced all the Top 5 guys within a year. Champs normally hide, they want to fight once a year. That’s not Charles, but Rio is way too close now. We prefer to give Charles a well-deserved vacation.”

Oliveira will undoubtedly be back sometime in 2023, and it will be interesting to see who he faces and how he looks after his recent setback. Can the former champ return to the consistency we witnessed that drove him to UFC gold? It’s one of the more interesting questions we’ll learn the answer to next year.