LAS VEGAS — Aleksei Oleinik has been around the fight game for quite some time.
The UFC heavyweight contender will enter the cage for his 74th document professional career bout Saturday in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 32 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Oleinik (59-13-1 MMA, 8-4 UFC) will take on Derrick Lewis in a five-round contest.
The 43-year-old competitor out of Russia made his pro debut in 1996, and 24 years later, finds himself in the top 10 of the UFC’s official heavyweight rankings. Oleinik said the secret to his longevity is quite simple: having a good support system and a strong will.
“Nothing special,” Oleinik told reporters on the UFC on ESPN+32 virtual media scrum when asked the secret to his success. “I just don’t give up even when it gets very difficult. I train always and I eat good food. I have a family, my family helps me in my preparations. I have many fans and I have my own will. I will always be better and better and better.”
The bout with Lewis marks Oleinik’s third main event slot in his UFC career. It’s impressive a fighter with his tenure is still taking the top bill on major MMA events. But the despite the honor, Oleinik, who brings a two-fight win streak into the bout with Lewis, doesn’t focus on his card placement.
“No, I don’t have more adrenaline because whether it’s main event or prelims or just main card fight because I prepare for my fights,” Oleinik said. “I prepare for my opponent and I don’t watch whether my fight is up or down. I’m in the UFC in the best promotion in the world and I fight the best guys in the world.”
UFC on ESPN+32 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streams on ESPN+.