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Why, oh why? UFC 210 winner Charles Oliveira still wants to return to featherweight



BUFFALO, N.Y. – Charles Oliveira has said all along that his lightweight booking against Will Brooks at UFC 210 in no way meant he was done with the 145-pound division.

As it turns out, not even a quick submission win over a betting favorite and former Bellator champ was enough to change his mind. After Saturday’s impressive rear-naked choke finish of Brooks (18-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC), which earned a “Performance of the Night” bonus, Oliveira (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC) was categorical about his intentions.

“I weighed in lower (Oliveira’s official weight was 152.8 pounds) to show I belong to the lower division, not the upper one,” Oliveira said in his native Portuguese. “I had a great fight tonight, but I want to go back to 145.

“I trained very hard for this fight. Harder than ever. (There were) many emotions, with my daughter on the way. (I did) great work, but I want to go back to 145, where I want to be champion.”

The lightweight bout opened up the main card of Saturday’s UFC 210 event at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

It’s no wonder Oliveira’s 145-pound plans were met with general surprise. After all, other than his penchant for bonus-winning finishes, the 27-year-old Brazilian has also acquired a reputation for missing the mark when it comes to the scale. The most recent and remarkable instance came in November, when he missed weight by an entire division on a short-notice scrap against Ricardo Lamas.

Although he has gone over the limit in four of his 12 featherweight appointments, Oliveira is optimistic he’ll be able to fix that issue should the UFC give him another shot.

“It’s not hard (for me),” Oliveira, now a full-time member of the Chute Boxe team, said. “I think when we have the right team, and with people doing the correct job, you’re able to make it happen. That’s it”

Oliveira’s career, of course, has some brighter notable aspects. Saturday’s win, for instance, meant not only his 10th fight-night bonus, but also his ninth submission victory since joining the UFC in 2010. That means that, now tied with Demian Maia and Nate Diaz, he’s one submission win away from tying Royce Gracie’s record.

Oliveira’s satisfaction was visible when the record’s proximity was brought up.

“I know that,” he smiled mid-interpretation, before reiterating the rather justifiable confidence he has in his ground game.

“I’m one of the biggest submission artists in the division,” Oliveira said. “I came from jiu-jitsu. Now I’m at Chute Boxe, where they have some of the best muay Thai in the world, but my main asset will always be jiu-jitsu. I want to break barriers in the UFC. Let’s surpass that guy.”

While he clearly wants to do his next appointment at featherweight, preferably against a higher-ranked opponent, Oliveira said he’ll be ready for whomever is thrown his way.

“The UFC asked me take this fight, and I did,” Oliveira said. “I did a great job, and now I want to go back to 145. If the UFC wants me at 145, I’m ready. If not, I’ll be ready anyway.

“Right now, tomorrow, I’m ready. If I go to 145, I’m the seventh in the world (in the official UFC rankings). I’ll fight anyone in my division, anyone above me. It’s what I want. We’re ready to fight any of them.”

To hear from Oliveira, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 210, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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