Saturday, January 22, 2022

After Grim Diagnosis, Charles Oliveira Details Journey To UFC Title Fight

When faced with the realization that he may never walk again, Charles Oliveira has beaten the odds and is fighting for a UFC title this weekend.

The lightweight contender inside the UFC has racked up an eight-fight win streak. Additionally, Oliveira has the biggest fight of his life at UFC 262 when he takes on Michael Chandler for the vacant lightweight championship. The third-degree blackbelt has solidified his name in the organization with solid wins over Kevin Lee and Tony Ferguson.

Charles Oliveira Divulges About Upbringing That Led To His Success

When Oliveira was younger, a doctor informed the Oliveira family that he would be diagnosed with abnormal heart murmurs and rheumatoid arthritis which affected his ankles. When one doctor’s opinion was that Charles Oliveira would never walk again, certainly his quality of life and ability to participate in athletic competitions looked bleak.

The No.3. rated UFC lightweight in the world spoke to MMA Fighting where he detailed some of the struggles he went through growing up.

“I was hospitalized for two years and doctors told my mom I couldn’t do sports anymore,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. “I loved soccer at the time, I had no idea what combat sports were, but stayed two years in the hospital. It sucked because I couldn’t leave. My parents had to work so I basically stayed there by myself all morning. It was hard to get used to it.”

Charles Oliveira | UFC
Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira, Credit: UFC.com

Once discharged at the age of eleven, Charles Oliveira enrolled in jiu-jitsu and never looked back. The top lightweight fighter detailed the hard work and dedication he’s put forth despite the hardships.

“I work hard every single day to have things I want,” Oliveira says. “I was too young when I got there and there was so much pressure over me. I’ve had my highs and lows. I’ve fought injured. I’ve missed weight. I’ve taken fights when I clearly shouldn’t. But I’ve learned from it. When I stop and think about all that, I think my family can be proud of everything I’ve done. I’m proud of myself. I came from nothing and look where I am now.”

Oliveira’s Vow To Become UFC World Champion

UFC 262 fight card -- Michael Chandler vs. Charles Oliveira: Five biggest  storylines to watch in Houston - CBSSports.com
Credit: Jeff Bottari

The lightweight we see before us had to endure medical injections to stave off his ailments until he was eighteen, but he persevered and is in a prime position to potentially become a champion of one of the most prestigious divisions in the UFC. The 16 post-fight bonus winner is confident that he will repay his parents for all the sacrifices they have made for him and assures his family that he will one day become a world champion.

“I tell my mom I’ll become UFC champion one day and I’ll have a lot of money, but I won’t lose my essence or forget where I come from and everything I went through. Every night when I go to bed I think about all that and where I want to go, who I am. I remember walking back home for hours after jiu-jitsu tournaments because we had no money to take the bus. I remember sharing a sandwich at lunch so we could take the bus back home. If your life is easy, you’re soft. If your life is hard, it pays off in the end.” Oliveira said.

No matter the circumstances, the UFC submission record-holder understands that it is his upbringing that formed him into a title challenger, and he wants to show everyone, and especially in the favelas of Brazil that you can struggle and still succeed in the end.

Do you believe Charles Oliveira will be successful in his quest to become a UFC champion?

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Doug Murray
Doug A Murray is a freelance writer that contributes to a variety of websites. With experience in other sporting fields, his primary focus is on boxing and mixed martial arts.