Charles Oliveira da Silva was born on October 17th, 1989 to Ozana Oliveira and Francisco Antonio da Silva into the favela of Vicente de Carvalho, Guarujá, São Paulo, Brazil. Charles’ parents worked two jobs to support him and his brother, Hermison, who also helped financially by selling recycled cardboard and food on the street to survive.
At an early age, he took a large interest in soccer and had dreams of becoming a professional, but at age 7 he began to feel pain in his ankle, to the point where he struggled walking. He was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and heart murmurs, medics telling his family that he may become paraplegic. Charles spent the next 2 years in a hospital, being treated with immunosuppressants and engaging in physical therapy with his loving mother standing by at all times, most nights sleeping on the floor by his side.
At the age of 11, he was released from the hospital on the condition he gets injections twice per week and does not engage in any physical activity. Two months later a neighbouring friend in the favela, Paulo, introduced him to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It was two months after this point when Charles Oliveira won a white belt local championship in BJJ.
Charles continued taking injections until he was 18, claiming he no longer suffered any problems with his limbs, which were now being used to strike in amateur MMA. After receiving his black belt under Jorge Patino and Ericson Cardoso and amassing a flawless 12-0 amateur MMA record (6 KO, 5 Sub), Charles would coin the nickname “do Bronx” which means “from the Favelas”.
He went from competing in amateur fights to professional fights, winning his first 12 fights which led him to getting a call from the UFC. At just 20 years old, Oliveira made his UFC debut in August of 2010 against Darren Elkins and finished him by submission in just 41 seconds.
Today, Oliveira stands atop the most talent-filled division as champion with the most submissions in UFC history, most finishes in UFC history and most post-fight bonuses in UFC history.
From being a kid who could barely walk selling cheese salad in a favela, to becoming one of the most decorated fighters in UFC history. To say Charles has come a long way is an understatement.