The former lightweight champion was in attendance at UFC Sao Paulo and offered an update on his expected return after the cut forced him out of his rematch in October.
While Oliveira got the necessary medical attention needed, he’s taking his time to ensure he doesn’t face any other issues that would prevent him from re-booking the fight with Makhachev in the near future.
“It was quite a deep cut,” Oliveira said during the UFC post-fight show. “We don’t have any scheduled fights at the moment, so we can take our time to get a good recovery. So I might go back into within a week or so. No, [not back in the gym], not yet.”
While he didn’t get to compete in Abu Dhabi, Oliveira still watched the fights. He witnessed Makhachev score an impressive first-round knockout over UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, who took the Brazilian’s place on short notice.
“It was a great fight,” Oliveira said. “Islam is really developing his striking. Congratulations to Volkanovski to face him like that, but Islam is evolving so much.”
With Makhachev retaining his title, UFC CEO Dana White wasted no time declaring that Oliveira was still next in line; rumors swirled that the lightweight title fight rematch could happen as early as January.
Anything’s possible, though Oliveira said he hasn’t booked anything with the UFC just yet.
“We just heard this in the locker room,” he said. “People were asking us in messages. This is the first time we’ve heard about it. But that’s the timeline, January maybe, so who knows.”
Oliveira already promised that he would deliver a much better performance in his rematch against Makhachev than he did in their first encounter.
On that night, Makhachev dominated Oliviera both on the feet and on the ground before securing a second-round submission to claim the vacant lightweight title.
“You will see the Charles you always see,” Oliveira said. “Always going forward, always going for the submission, the knockout, going for the win.”
As much as Oliveira wants to avenge his past defeat to Makhachev, his sole purpose right now is winning back the UFC title he lost. That means more to him than anything else, and Makhachev just stands as the obstacle in his way to achieving that goal.
“I want to be champion,” Oliveira said. “I want to be the next champion. That’s what I want.”
This story originally appeared on MMA fighting