With 17 wins and no loss on MMA, Charles “Do Bronx’s” Oliveira debuted on UFC in great style. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt got a submission over Darren Elkins in only 41 seconds. From an underdog, Charles started to be noticed on his second fight on UFC, which happened a month later, already on the main card, against Efrain Escudero, and he got another impressive submission. The next mission of the lightweight is to fight Jim Miller, who is coming from a sequence of five wins, on a fight scheduled for December 11th. The performance of the fighter has been pleased so much that it’ll be his third fight in less than four months and TATAME talked with the guy about many subjects. The guy of only 21 years old talked about his career, told us the first thing he’s bought when he earned the US$40 thousand bonus for the best submission of the night, commented his dream of fighting BJ Penn among many other subjects which you can check below.
You appeared to the world on Predador’s GP. How was it like?
So, on Predador the division was 170lbs, and I weighted 158,7lbs wearing jeans, sneakers and a coat. Thanks God I did three great fights. I’ve beaten guys who had 15 wins, like Lima Braga, Jackson Pontes, and I had just turned 18, I had just have my debut and I didn’t really know what MMA was. I went there without knowing much about it and there were great guys, but I managed to do my job, use my JIu-Jitsu thanks God. I’ve won three fights, in great style.
Of course you go there trusting yourself… But, back at that time, did you think the outcome would be as good as it was?
No, it’d never guess, I told my coach I didn’t know I could win three fights. We’ve talked a lot and we knew that I didn’t exchanged well, I really didn’t know how to do it. I’ve never trained MMA. I only knew my Jiu-Jitsu was better than any guy in there. My team told me and I’ve believed them. They said to me: “your Jiu-Jitsu is the best in the world. If you take the guys down, you’ll win”. And it turned out to be true. On my first fight, when he came, I kept spinning around, hoping to find some space to take him down. I got him on a rear naked choke. On my second fight, I was so surprised because I knocked the guy out, and on t he finals I confronted Diego Braga, and I submitted him too. I did pretty good job. In my mind, I didn’t hope for it. In my mind, I knew I could do a good presentation, but not winning.
I’ve met you on Eagle Fight, in Guarulhos, Sao Paulo, and I was impressed with your exchange, and then I’ve found out you are a Jiu-Jitsu guy. Do you practice Muay Thai for how long?
Man, I’ve started to train MMA when I turned 18.
Since then it was just Jiu-Jitsu?
Only Jiu-Jitsu… After my first fight on Predador, I’ve started training MMA, which is a mix of everything. I’ve never trained Muay Thai separately, I’ve never done a Boxing training… I only do Jiu-Jitsu trainings apart from the others. I’ve always done a mix of all arts. Right after people started to know me, they kept saying: “Charles do Bronx’s only knows how to submit, he only knows Jiu-Jitsu”, and I couldn’t get that off my mind, I knew I had to learn new things. That was a positive thing for me, because when I trained with the guys, they knew much more about it than me, and I didn’t take them down, I stood there, being hit because it’s when you is hit that you learn. Back then, Macaco still was here in Brazil and we came here to Sao Paulo’s main gym and I used to train with the best guys in Brazil at that time, the best team of the world. I was training like a desperate man, training on a gym with great guys and then I’ve started to learn how to exchange.
At what point in your career you started thinking you’d be ready for any challenge?
I think in all my fights. Each fight I did, I kept learning more. Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine, and we were saying that when the guy wins, he thinks he’s doing fine in the game. Not me. On my first time, I fought for 41 seconds on UFC, and I’ve watched those 41 seconds like a hundred times. I’ve exchanged he wanted to take me down and I tried to submit him from that position. I’ve watched this fight all over again, and I enjoy learning, to see what I’ve done wrong and what I’ve done right, to know what I should do. When a guy teaches me something, I want to learn it, really learn it and take the best lesson from it I can, and I think that’s it.
Even having trained a lot, were you anxious for you debut on UFC?
We always get there trained. On the first fight I fought on a ring, I was pretty tense, my family knows it, they were speaking to me on the phone and they could tell I was tense. But on UFC I was at ease, it was a dream for me, I knew that was the thing I’ve wanted to do. If I was focuses, if I was in a good state of mind, I could do a great fight…
You’ll have to face much tougher guys, like you did on your second fight, against Efrain Escudero, a guy who came directly from TUF…
The guy belonged to Minotauro’s team, he joined Ultimate’s cast and did great fights, he’s a good name. I’ve won a fight in 41 seconds and they’ve put me against a tough guy. I’ve always wanted to fight the bests. If I’ll win, I want to beat the bests, I can’t pick who I’ll confront… I’ll fight whoever they ask me to. I did a great fight. His game is about coming forwards and backwards, and I didn’t want to play it, so I started playing my own game to that I could test myself, knowing I’d had to manage to handle the three rounds because I had a good conditioning.
He hit you with an illegal knee, it was hard on you and he started trying to bring the fans to his side…
On the lock room, me, Ericson and Macaco were talking, saying that, in most of his fights, he hits the guy’s private parts, and I knew it could disturb me. My kick, I’m sure it didn’t catch him, but I apologized immediately. You can watch the video, you can see I didn’t hurt him, his chill slipped. When I kicked him, I cut my feet, I concentrated so I wouldn’t lose my mind. Macaco told me to take it easy, Ericson also told me to stay calm, and when I came back, I kept playing the game I was playing. I was winning the two first rounds, but I knew I had to knock him out or submit him, because I can’t leave it to the Americans to decide.
And about the takedowns?
I was training hard my exchange and I left this aside, so I think that, for my next fight, I’ll have to train more this part. On Escudero’s fight I wanted to show I could trade punches with him so people know I don’t only know Jiu-Jitsu. I took him down once on the second round and one on the third, but now I want to bring a new show, I want to be more aggressive… I want to be more and more aggressive on the octagon.
What do you think it’s the best way to beat Miller?
Man, Miller is a guy known for being the best Jiu-Jitsu guy, but I don’t think so. I think he’s a complete guy, who can play standing up or on the floor. From my part, I want him to come forwards on the first round because I know he’ll come hungry for me and, in my fights, no one has done it to me. I think he’ll try to risk it all, he’ll try to knock me out or submit me. I think he’ll try to take me down, but I’m not afraid of going to the floor. My Jiu-Jitsu is as good as it always was, so I don’t think it’ll be any different than it was in Brazil. I’ll work the ground game taking one step at a time, but always moving forwards. On the second round, I have to be more aggressive, exchange with him, take him down. But that’s just what I’m saying here, when you get there you can never know. He can make a mistake, he might want to only exchange, or only take me down. I think it’ll be a fight between two warriors, and I think he’s more likely to win the belt because he has more wins than I do. He wants to make some space for himself, but I also want to make a statement.
Your professional record, on the website Sherdog, isn’t right. Which is your currently professional record?
Now I have a professional record of 17 wins and no losses. It’s wrong on Sherdog, I’m trying to fix it…
And about KOs and submissions?
Man, I think there’re eight submissions, seven KOs and one decision…
Do you think this fight might take you to another level, on the journey for the title?
In my life, in my career, I’ve always wanted to take one step at a time, not only when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu and MMA, but in all aspects. I don’t want to jump to a level I’m not prepared for yet, I’m not in a hurry and it won’t be any different, it’ll take it slowly. It’s the same I’ve told my coaches: “guys, I don’t pick fights”. I’m sure that if I beat him, I can climb one more step on the stair of UFC and I leave it for them to decide who will and who won’t have a title shot.
How do you see this weight class currently, with Frankie Edgar as the belt holder?
Man, Frankie Edgar deserves everything he’s got, but I think that ‘the’ big name of the division is BJ Penn. BJ is the guy. On his fight, he proved the world that, when he’s into it, when he wants… I think he beat every opponent he had for too many time, he remained unbeaten for a long time and it destabilized the guy. It’s good to lose. Congratulations to Frankie Edgar, but I think BJ wasn’t at his best, on his timing. This fight he proved it to the world. I think he owns the division.
If you have to face him, how will it be?
That’s my dream. When I saw Frankie Edgar, I thought I’d had to fight him, if it was for the belt, I’d do it, but I’d be an honor to me fighting BJ, independently of the outcome. I’d like to use my game to fight him because he’s the guy, he’s the guy of this division. I cheered for him. If he comes back in that style, he’ll rule this division.
You’re a guy with humble origins, and now you make a lot of money on UFC. How do you do to keep your feet on the ground?
First of all, I think my family comes first, it’s the foundation of everything, I have a girlfriend… I never went to a nightclub in my life, I’ve never smoked, did drugs or drank. I think that here in Brazil guys always did it, these are things everybody knows that happens. These things aren’t for me. A truth athlete doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t go to nightclubs. I have my fun… I go out with my girlfriend, we go to the beach, we call our family and go to a farm of a friend of mine. When I won my first fight, I’ve earned US$40 thousand. Do you know what was the first thing I’ve bought? A little remote control car on the United Stated. I’ve never had one… Yesterday I was back home and I was flying a kite with the boys there, we’ve bought row and went flying kites…
I like two streets from the slum, I know everybody. Despite of what I’ve earned, with all the money I have, I got that money and fixed things at home, gave the best things to my mom. Today, thanks God, I can give my mom and dad what they have given me. Now I’m focused, I’ve never had that kid spirit. We go to UFC and the guys ask to take a photo with me and I go there and take a picture with them… There’re guys who say they can’t. I think it’s bullshit. You have to be humble. Sometimes, I make a mistake, and then my mom comes to me and say: “Charles, be careful. You forgot this”. Sometimes it’s hard because people start to think you’re snobbish and you’re not.