Former undisputed ligthweight champion, Charles Oliveira has revealed he still plans to make a return to the Octagon in January of next year – despite Dana White recently axing reported plans for him to take on Islam Makhachev at UFC 297 that month in Toronto, Canada.
Oliveira, the current number one ranked lightweight contender and former undisputed division champion, withdrew from a scheduled rematch with the above-mentioned, Makhachev atop a UFC 294 pay-per-view card last month in Abu Dhabi, UAE, after suffering a nasty laceration during his final sparring session ahead of the bout.
Sidelined since June of this year, Oliveira, the most prolific finisher in the history of the promotion and also the most prolific all-time submission threat, turned in a stunning first round ground strikes TKO win over perennial contender, Beneil Dariush in the pair’s championship eliminator in ‘The Great White North’.
And over the course of the weekend, reports from Ariel Helwani revealed how currently the plan was to host a lightweight title rematch between Makhachev and Oliveira at UFC 297 on January 20. next in Canada.
However, yesterday evening, UFC CEO, White rubbished that report, claiming that the bout would not be taking place at UFC 297 in January of next year, claiming it would only happen when both teams were ready.
Furthermore, Makhachev’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz claimed that his client would be ready to compete again as soon as March 9. instead.
Charles Oliveira addresses a potential January return
Appearing in his native Sao Paulo over the course of the weekend to attend and corner at a UFC Fight Night billed card, Oliveira revealed he currently had no fight booked as he continues to recover from his laceration, however, confirmed plans to fight in January.
“It was quite a deep cut,” Charles Oliveira told ESPN. “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 [training] within a week or so.”
“We just heard this in the locker room [reports of a rematch with Islam Makhachev at UFC 297],” Charles Oliveira explained. “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?”
Do you expect to see Charles Oliveira fight at UFC 297 regardless?