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Charles Oliveira determined more than ever to claim lightweight gold ahead of return against Beneil Dariush: “I want it like I’ve never had it before”

Charles Oliveira is determined to capture UFC lightweight gold once again.

‘Do Bronx’ has been out of action since his clash with Islam Makhachev last October. Despite not technically being the champion, many still viewed the Brazilian as the best lightweight on the planet due to never losing his title. However, at UFC 280, that all went away.

The Russian dominated the former champion in the main event, eventually winning by second-round submission. In the process, Makhachev became the lightweight champion, and also ended Oliveira’s historic winning streak.

Months later, Charles Oliveira now has a return date and opponent. The Brazilian will face Beneil Dariush at UFC 288 in May. The Brazilian’s opponent has won eight fights in a row, defeating names such as Tony Ferguson and Mateusz Gamrot along the way.

However, the former champion isn’t shying away from the challenge, because he’s on the hunt for gold. During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Oliveira previewed his return, and also discussed his loss to Islam Makhachev.

Charles Oliveira Justin Gaethje
(via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

“A hurt lion is still a lion,” says Charles Oliveira, speaking through a translator in the interview. “He will continue hunting. That is what I am doing. I will keep working to get the belt back. I want it like I’ve never had it before… It wasn’t my night. He [Makhachev] was better than I was.” (h/t Sports Illustrated)

He continued, previewing the UFC 284 headliner between Alexander Volkanovski and Makhachev: “It’s all about the style of matchup. Islam will try to take it to the ground. Volkankovski will try to keep the fight standing. It is a style fight, and whoever’s style is predominant will win… Our sport is ungrateful. You can’t play around. The sport will make him pay for it if he does [underestimate Volkanovski], but I don’t think he is, especially in his first title defense.”

“I’m here,” Charles Oliveira concluded. “Anything can happen. I’m working to become champion again.”

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