In the UFC 280 main event on October 22, the much-awaited clash between surging Dagestani contender Makhachev and former champion Oliveira will go down, with the vacant lightweight title on the line.
While many have called the matchup the correct next step in the division ever since “Do Bronx” secured his place in the vacant championship fight with a victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 274, there was an element of uncertainty prior to the official confirmation last month.
A lot of that came through Oliveira’s self-professed reluctance to share the Octagon with Makhachev next. For a long time, the Brazilian has been pursuing a money fight with he sport’s biggest superstar, Conor McGregor.
And even with the Irishman still sidelined through injury and with his fight with Makhachev set, Oliveira recently reiterated that he initially wanted the “big payment from the other fight” over a collision with the AKA product.
“I didn’t want this fight. Everyone knows it,” Oliveira said during an interview with Brazilian YouTube channel PVT. “I wanted the big payment from the other fight. However, everyone knows that I’m a UFC employee. You can’t escape that. So we tried to negotiate from every angle.” (h/t MMA with Subtitles)
While Makhachev has already made his thoughts clear on Oliveira’s attempt to deny rightful contenders a shot at gold by pursuing a bout with McGregor, the Dagestani has now questioned the motive.
Makhachev: ‘Nobody Understands What Oliveira Says’
During a recent interview on ESPN MMA’s DC & RC show, Makhachev pointed to the “excuses” he believes Oliveira publicly made in order to prevent their matchup coming together.
On the topic of the Brazilian’s desire to secure the bag that inevitably comes with any McGregor headliner, Makhachev suggested that Oliveira has other things to focus on first if he wants to improve his income — namely, English lessons.
“When they ask about me, he say, ‘I need money,’ or something like this,” Makhachev said. “This is embarrassing… He trying to make money, you know, but this guy doesn’t speak English. Nobody understands this guy, he doesn’t speak English. English is important if you wanna make money. You have to speak some language that everybody understand. Nobody understand what he’s saying.”
Thankfully for Oliveira, the UFC utilizes a number of talented translators to ensure fans aren’t left in the dark when ‘Do Bronx’ completes promotional interviews, and the Brazilian will be hoping to make use of one with a victory speech in Abu Dhabi on October 22.
Meanwhile, having repeatedly called Oliveira out for ducking a fight against him, Makhachev will be looking to prove that the Brazilian’s reluctance to commit to the matchup was for good reason, and not due to finances, but the dominance he plans to show in the Octagon at UFC 280.
What did you make of Charles Oliveira’s reluctance to accept a fight against Islam Makhachev?