At UFC 280, the 155-pound weight class will have a champion again, with the title currently vacant following Oliveira’s weight miss prior to May’s UFC 274 pay-per-view. While victory at that event secured “Do Bronx” his place in the next title fight, it took some time for his dance partner to be confirmed.
Last month, what many had been calling for was announced, with a blockbuster matchup between Oliveira and surging Dagestani Makhachev made official for the October 22 PPV. The Brazilian will be heading to relative enemy territory in his pursuit of the belt he believes was wrongfully ripped from his grasp.
While both men have, at times, shown some element of mutual respect, the early build to their championship contest hasn’t been without animosity, in large parts due to Oliveira’s open desire to have prioritized a potential money fight with Conor McGregor over a date with the Russian.
Now, their relationship appears to have further deteriorated.
During an interview with MMA Hoje, Oliveira launched a scathing tirade against his upcoming opponent and those around him, suggesting that their “arrogance” will kill them.
“There’s one thing I need to tell you. I want to tell you,” Oliveira said. “They’re being arrogant, and that’s what will kill them. The arrogance from their manager, from former fighters, will kill them. No one will ever hit me harder than life already hit me. I’m a guy that escaped a heart-blowing condition. Rheumatism on my bones that even the doctor said I would never fight again.
“I’m coming to your house, my friend, to fight you. To make history and keep my legacy going as the UFC lightweight champion. You’re talking a lot of sh*t. Like, I’ve always respected all of you,” Oliveira added. “But you better pay attention, so don’t cry about it later. That’s all I have to say.” (h/t Bloody Elbow)
Makhachev Turns The Tables On Oliveira’s “Arrogant” Claim
During a recent appearance on ESPN MMA’s DC & RC show, Makhachev addressed Oliveira’s remarks, dismissing them as hypocritical.
After pointing to the former champion’s decision to use the term “arrogant,” Makhachev brought up Oliveira’s offer to start the fight on the ground at UFC 280 — a suggestion that derived from the Brazilian’s attempt to show the confidence he has in his ground game, even against the imposing wrestling game of Makhachev.
“You know, he say, ‘Islam and his team are arrogant because they change something,’ but this guy say, ‘If Islam want, we can start this fight on the ground or we can start on the grappling.’ He don’t give me respect,” Makhachev said. “Now he say, ‘His team and he are arrogant.’ I don’t know, I don’t understand this guy.”
Makhachev isn’t the first to hit back at Oliveira’s description of his opposition, with Dominance MMA Management CEO Ali Abdelaziz taking issue with the sentiment, which saw him also in the firing line.
With all walks of Makhachev’s team, including mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov, trading barbs with Oliveira, the buildup to UFC 280 looks set to be a heated one.
What do you make of Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev’s respective claims? Is either man arrogant?