The Tres Rios native welterweight is set to return to the Octagon less than six months after his submission loss to Gunnar Nelson, a rear-naked choke setback which Oliveira says may have well been a knockout loss to a “guy that tore my face” apart. “Cowboy” ended up being sidelined from training for just a few days until his 29 stitches were taken out and he was able to get back into the gym.
And after originally being booked to face Chinese prospect Li Jingliang at UFC Ft. Lauderdale, Oliveira was more than happy to welcome the late change to “Platinum” Perry.
“This guy, Mike Perry — I don’t even know how to say his name. … This guy is aggressive and brings problems,” Oliveira told MMA Fighting. “He’s a bit problematic, a trash talker, but he’s in for a fight. As long as he doesn’t talk about my mom, we’re cool.
”I’m focused, I’m feeling great. I’m ready for everything. The strategy changed a little bit, but let’s do it.”
Prior to his defeat to Nelson in December, “Cowboy” submitted former UFC interim champion Carlos Condit with a guillotine choke then knocked out Carlo Pedersoli in 39 seconds.
“I’m expecting a brawl. That’s what he brings,” Oliveira said. “I’m focused, even if he comes with surprises. We’re two strikers, that’s what we expect from each other, but tactics may change during a fight because we’re fighting MMA. Anything can happen.”
Oliveira is hoping that a win on Saturday moves him back into the top 15 of the welterweight division in UFC’s official rankings, and he plans on making a statement at Florida’s BB&T Center.
“The welterweight division is crowded, but we have to be ready for everything,” Oliveira said. “The champion has changed, there are a lot of big-name fighters there, but I’m a tough fight for anyone. I want to become UFC champion, so I have to stay focused and keep my hands heavy.
“Any top 10 [opponent], whoever they bring me next, I’m good,” he continued. “I’ll beat [Perry] anyway, I know that. It’s my time, it’s my moment. I had a hiccup (against Nelson), it’s part of the game, but I’m back now. I’ll run through [Perry] now. My time is coming.
“I see myself knocking him out. He’s a brawler. Wherever we go, it will be a war. [Dana White] can write the check for the best knockout of the night.”