Charles Oliveira fires back at Arman Tsarukyan’s ‘bulls***’ talk: ‘I’m the No. 1 in this division’

SÃO PAULO — Charles Oliveira is not one to ignite trash talk prior to MMA fights but won’t hear it in silence either.

The former UFC lightweight champion faces Arman Tsarukyan at the historic UFC 300 card on April 13, and he has a response to Tsarukyan saying he’s a one-dimensional fighter. Tsarukyan downplayed Oliveira’s impressive finishing stats, claiming that Oliveira was limited to taking his opponents’ backs and submitting them with rear-naked chokes.

“People say what they want, right?” Oliveira said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “If I only have that, and I have 16 submissions on my [UFC] record, I guess they were all from the back, right? And I guess the knockouts I have weren’t knockouts, they were submissions. It’s too much bulls*** they talk. It was said that I’m a quitter, but I was knocked down, walked forward and knocked them out. I also heard I’m not hungry, that I don’t want it anymore. He doesn’t know how bad I want to become champion again.”

Oliveira said he laughs at the trash talk aimed at him because “it makes no difference” and he gives Tsarukyan “all the respect in the world” as an opponent.

“He’s super tough, is on a good run, etc.,” Oliveira said. “But we’re talking about guys at the top of the division. You have to chill before you say anything because you’re not talking about anyone, I’m the No. 1 in this division. I have the record for most submissions, most bonuses. If you look at my history, you’ll see you’re talking crap.”

Oliveira rebounded from a title fight loss to Islam Makhachev by knocking out Beneil Dariush at UFC 289 and Tsarukyan went on to stop Dariush the following December. “Do Bronx” has finished his opponents in 31 of his 34 wins and aims for the same outcome when he battles Tsarukyan at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“I’m an aggressive man and walk forward the entire time, so there’s no such thing as walking backwards,” Oliveira said. “Arman knows that, he’s said that. He’s said a bunch of s***, but one thing he got right is that I go for the victory at all times, so that won’t change. But if you look at my last fight against Beneil Dariush, you’ll see how calm I was. I’m evolving, I’m growing inside the cage, and on the mat here, training and evolving.

“Of course, I want to knock him out. I want to submit him. I want the win, and I don’t want to leave it to the judges. The worst thing that can happen is leave it to the judges, so I will go for it the entire time. Of course, very strategically, making things happen. He’s super tough, has good striking and good takedowns, but I’m 100 percent ready for this. I’m not worried about what Arman can bring, but with what I can do. It’s all about me being happy and bold, and having my hand raised.”

The Brazilian talent said “I’m sure I will win” and will be “next in line” for the belt afterwards, with his plan to rematch Makhachev later this year. However, Oliveira is wiling to change course if a clash with Conor McGregor is available. Chute Boxe leader Diego Lima told MMA Fighting they would opt to facing the Irishman first and Oliveira echoed that thought.

“I would absolutely go with Conor because of the money,” Oliveira said. “Everything has to be discussed. When you sit at the table and there’s a contract, you say, ‘OK, cool, I want this win. Am I next in line with a win?’ … You’re putting way too much money in your bank account to live a good life, and then you’re fighting for the title. It doesn’t make any difference.”

Having said that, Oliveira doesn’t expect McGregor to ever agree to this matchup.

“Sometimes he posts something about me and then deletes it. So there’s a spark. But he’s no fool. He will never take this fight,” Oliveira said. “I don’t think so, no. He thinks too much and has a good strategy. He only goes where he is very certain he can win.”

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