This fight couldn’t be more important.
Interview and Photos by: AJ Hoffman
Having been lucky enough to train with Charles before his previous UFC fights, I notice something different about him this camp. Different, but familiar. When I first met Charles he couldn’t have been more unassuming and humble. He almost seemed in awe of what was happening at the time. He didn’t seem nervous, but anxious to get the actual fight out of the way. He made quick work of Darren Elkins in that fight, finishing him in :41 seconds with an arm bar. His next matchup was against Efrain Escudero in Austin, Texas. He was a lot more relaxed that camp, and he submitted The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 champion Efrain Escudero in impressive fashion. Everyone took notice. I didn’t see Charles before his next fight. It was his first time on the main card of a pay-per view, and he was fighting in Canada on a Georges St. Pierre headlined card. His opponent was Jim Miller, an under appreciated and often overlooked lightweight who is 9-1 in the UFC. Due to visa issues, Charles couldn’t go from Brazil to Canada and make a stop in the U.S., thus he didn’t go through his normal fight camp with Jorge “Macaco” Patino. He also carried himself a little differently in his interviews and even in his pre fight walkout. He had a swagger, to the point where he came off as cocky and showy. He lost the fight via first round knee bar, his first blemish as a pro. When he came to Houston a few weeks ago to prepare for Nik Lentz, there was no cocky aura to him. He was here to learn, to train, and he was grinding. Macaco put him through a hellish camp, and after talking to him, he believes that is exactly what he needed to get back on the winning track.
Oliveira: Thank you! I haven’t really made a decision on that yet. I like Texas, and I love the work I get here. Maybe one day I will move to Houston to live full time.
TCD: How is the training different here in Houston than what you are doing in Brazil?
Oliveira: Training here is more technical than what I am doing in Brazil. I have sort of a routine there. Here I am doing more learning and Macaco is getting me physically and mentally prepared for the fight I have on Sunday.
TCD: How long have you worked with Macaco, and what role has he played in your MMA career?
Oliveira: I have been working with Macaco since I started in MMA. We talk all the time, even when I am in Brazil. He is my coach, and he passes on all of his experience to me, and it has me prepared for the fight.
TCD: Talk about the loss to Jim Miller. What do you think went wrong in that fight, and what have you done to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
Oliveira: I think what went wrong in that fight was that I started the fight too excited. My emotions were not in check, and I wanted to finish the fight as soon as I could. I think my overexcitement caused me to go away from the game plan that my coaches had for me, and against an opponent like Jim Miller, you have to follow the plan.
TCD: How did having the first loss put on your record effect you emotionally? Did it take anything away from your confidence in the cage?
Oliveira: I had never lost before, and I hated the feeling of losing. I don’t want to feel that way again. As far as my confidence, it didn’t take anything away from me. I know what I can do in the cage and I know the mistakes I made. I will make the adjustments and hopefully get to fight Jim Miller again down the road and avenge that loss.
Oliveira: He is a tough fighter. He is a good wrestler and is controlling on the ground. A lot of people think he makes boring fights, but I am going to try and make sure our fight is not boring. I have seen almost all of his fights on film, and I think we have the game plan in place to take advantage of him.
TCD: Coming off the loss, how important do you think it is for you to win this fight?
Oliveira: It is 100% important. This fight couldn’t be more important. I know I am in a must win situation, and I am working hard to make sure that is what happens.
TCD: I know you like to compete a lot. You have not had a fight in nearly 7 months. What have you been doing to stay busy during the downtime and do you think that long of a break will effect your performance?
Oliveira: I have been training a lot during the time off. I don’t think the break will effect my performance. I am coming into this fight ready.
TCD: Where is your stand-up game at right now? Do you feel comfortable with it going into this fight?
Oliveira: I feel good fighting stand-up, muay-thai style. It doesn’t matter, stand-up or ground. I feel good with every aspect of my game right now.
TCD: You were recently quoted as saying you want to be the youngest champion in UFC history. A win over Miller would have had you right in the title picture, but how many fights away from contention do you think you are now?
Oliveira: I don’t know how many fights I have to win to have a chance to fight for a title belt. I am ready to fight as many fights as the UFC wants me to. That is my goal, and I will do what it takes to reach that goal.
TCD: Nearly every Brazilian in the UFC had hoped to be on the Rio de Janeiro card in August. Would fighting in Houston, your second home, be a good consolation. Is that something you would push for?
Oliveira: It doesn’t matter where I have to fight. It would be nice to fight here in Texas again, but I will fight wherever they ask me to. I just look forward to fighting. I am always ready.
TCD: Anyone you would like to thank Charles?
Oliveira: I would first like to thank God. Everything is possible through Him. I would also like to thank my family, my teammates, my sponsors and all of my fans.