Charles Oliveira & His Career Resurgence
By Jack Maher
At the back end of 2017, it looked like Charles Oliveira’s time in the UFC may have been at its end. ‘Do Bronx’ was 1-3 in his last 4. and in his final featherweight fight, he weighed in at 155lbs, 9lbs over the featherweight limit.
This was the fourth time he had missed weight in the UFC. After the disaster of his last featherweight weigh-in, Oliveira’s next fights took place at lightweight, but the Brazilian maintained he wanted to move back down to featherweight if the UFC would allow him.
Having joined the UFC as a 12-0 lightweight, Oliveira was now 22-8, caught between weight divisions, and for all his talent, his inconsistencies in the cage and struggles to make weight may have had made him seem like more trouble than he was worth.
The UFC brass clearly thought Oliveira was worth giving another chance however, and he was handed this opportunity last June, when he stepped in for the injured Bobby Green to face Clay Guida at UFC 225 on 10 days notice.
Despite taking the fight on late notice, Oliveira secured the win in less than three minutes, submitting Guida with a guillotine. Oliveira took a risk by facing Guida on only ten days notice, but that risk seen him re-enter the win column, and also awarded him a $50,000 performance bonus.
Three months later, the Brazilian submission expert returned, this time on home turf in Sao Paulo, Brazil, facing Christos Giagos. Oliveira again won by submission, this time by rear-naked choke in the second round, and in doing so, broke the record for the most Submission wins in the UFC, with 11.
Another performance bonus was awarded to the new record holder, and in less than a year Oliveira went from potentially on the brink of leaving the UFC, to a UFC record holder, and now found himself on his first winning streak since 2015.
Oliveira ended 2018 in a rematch, taking on Jim Miller at UFC Milwaukee, a repeat of their 2010 clash, where Miller handed Oliveira his first professional loss. This time it was Oliveira who got his hand raised, with another first round, bonus winning submission, extending his own UFC submission wins record to 13, and his current win streak to three.
Oliveira has carried his fine form in to 2019, starting off the year with a submission win to overcome a very game David Teymur, ending what was a great fight with a brilliant anaconda choke, extending his win streak to four with another win in his native Brazil.
This was the win that returned Oliveira to the UFC rankings, slotting him in at #14 at lightweight. Oliveira followed this up with a rare knockout win, over Nick Lentz, and suddenly Oliveira was on the longest win streak of his UFC career.
A big fight is on the horizon for Oliveira, but he has to win his next fight first.
Oliveira is back in action tonight against Jordon Gordon, in Brazil, where Oliveira is undefeated. Gordon is by no means a pushover, but a win over him will take Oliveira’s win streak to six, the longest of his UFC career, and the joint-third longest in the top 15 of the lightweight division.
Not bad for someone who not too long ago was known more for his weight struggles than his ability in the cage.