Former champion Oliveira (34-9 MMA, 22-9 UFC) will run things back with lightweight champion Makhachev (24-1 MMA, 13-1 UFC) in the UFC 294 headliner, which takes place Oct. 21 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
Their first title fight took place less than a year ago in Abu Dhabi, where Makhachev ran through Oliveira with a second-round submission at UFC 280. Now, Oliveira will have to fight Makhachev again in Abu Dhabi.
“I don’t necessarily think it’s fair, but it’s the game,” Oliveira told My MMA News through an interpreter. “That’s where the champion is. He calls the shots. But I’m coming back for my belt, wherever that is.”
Oliveira earned a second shot at Makhachev after snapping Beneil Dariush’s eight-fight winning streak with a first-round TKO at UFC 289 in June. He was dubbed next in line for the title, but took a while to accept the rematch.
However, it turns out it was just a negotiation tactic. With the UFC returning to Oliveira’s city of Sao Paulo Brazil on Nov. 4, “Do Bronx” was just trying to fight there.
“With 12 years in the game, I just kind of learned how to play the game,” Oliveira said. “I knew that there was a UFC in Sao Paulo. I just wanted to shoot my shot and see if it would work, but here we are.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 294.