Former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira had to make a big decision ahead of his now cancelled rematch against Islam Makhachev at UFC 294. Just days before their second encounter, ‘Do Bronx’ suffered a deep cut during a sparring session, which left the athlete and his team too uncomfortable to stay on the card.
After deciding to leave the UFC 294 card, UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski accepted the task of facing Makhachev on short notice and saved the Abu Dhabi main event.
Charles Oliveira withdrew from UFC 294 to protect his legacy
Although there was a chance that Charles Oliveira could still fight at UFC 294 on October 21, if the wound healed up enough, the risk of having the cut open again in the middle of the fight did not sit well with Do Bronx and his coaches. Even though the rematch was long-awaited and meant a big payday, the Brazilian preferred not to risk another loss to Makhachev on his record.
In an interview with Ag Fight, Oliveira explained that he didn’t make the decision on his own. Instead, the Brazilian sat down with his team and they all agreed to withdraw from the card and not risk going through all the preparation process just to risk losing a doctor stoppage due to a cut. While the big purse would much welcomed, Do Bronx emphasized how he ultimately fights for his legacy, not for money.
“We made this decision together. We all sat down and thought about what would be best for us. We’re in a moment in our lives where we don’t have to fight just for the sake of fighting. If this was about money, I’d be in Abu Dhabi right now, for sure, waiting for my moment to fight, because we are talking about a lot of money.”
“It’s not about money. It’s about legacy.” He said. “It’s about what we want to show in the middle of the fight. There would be no point in going out there just for the first grazing punch that touched me to open up the cut and make the fight bet stopped and give him another win. We thought this through, we analyzed it thoroughly and we made this decision together.”
Oliveira has only lost one of his latest 12 bouts
In his last outing, Charles Oliveira (34-9-1 NC) scored a TKO victory over Beneil Dariush, in June of this year. With the win, the 34-year-old bounced back from his submission loss to Makhachev, in October 2022.
That defeat is the only blemish on the Brazilian’s record in his past 12 outings, which include victories over notable names such as former interim champions Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier, among others.
Now, UFC 294 is scheduled to go on with the rematch between Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski for the lightweight belt. In the co-main event, former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman replaced Paulo Costa on short notice to take on rising star Khamzat Chimaev in a middleweight contest.
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