Charles Oliveira (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

Does UFC Champ Charles Oliveira Ride Horses?

When we think of UFC fighters, the first thing that comes to mind is the octagon where they are trading blows, grappling and engaging in pretty dangerous combat. They are truly one of the fiercest athletes showcasing their mixed martial art skills.

However, if we dig deeper, we would find that these warriors in the octagon are just like regular people with hobbies and leisure activities. Some might be interested in yachting on a boat spending their millions (hello McGregor), while others have more specific passions like horse riding.

Who? Well, we are talking about UFC champ Charles Oliveira, which is known for his incredible skills in the cage, but most people don’t know that he is also a big equestrian fan. Let’s dive more into his passion and find out how Charles Oliveira ended up loving horses.


Oliveira – The Fighter and The Equestrian

Charles Oliveira, a name that resonates with power, agility, and an indomitable spirit in the UFC lightweight division, carries more to his persona than just his fighting prowess. 

Beyond the octagon, Oliveira harbors a passion that contrasts sharply with the high-octane energy of mixed martial arts: horse riding. We’ve seen him around horses many times, and he usually attends big horse racing events in his country.

Does UFC Champ Charles Oliveira ride horses?

Indeed, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and striking specialist finds solace and joy in the company of horses. 

On July 11, 2020, Oliveira was spotted riding one of his horses, named ‘Innocently Suspiro’, in Campinas, Brazil. This revelation might come as a surprise to many who only associate Oliveira with his fierce persona in the UFC.

Yes, the man known for his devastating submissions and knockouts inside the octagon moonlights as a horse aficionado. Picture it: the same hands that lock in a guillotine choke are gently brushing a horse’s mane. Who would have thought?

The Equestrian Connection

Why would a UFC champion, accustomed to the adrenaline rush of combat sports, find interest in horse riding? 

The answer lies in the multifaceted nature of athletes and their need for balance in life. For Oliveira, horse riding might not just be a leisure activity; it could be a form of mental and physical therapy, offering a serene escape from the relentless pace of training and competition.

Is He Really Passionate About Horses?

Well, apart from seeing him around horses and on big horse racing events, we can spot his equine passion even when he is in the fighting ring. How? Well, he has a big horse tattoo covering his right arm stretching from his elbow to his biceps.

This ink is a testament to his love for horses and his involvement in harness racing, a sport he actively follows and participates in within his hometown. Oliveira’s tattoo is more than mere decoration; it symbolizes his passion and the peace he finds in caring for and being around horses​.

Is Oliveira Interested in Horse Racing?

Traditionally, most people that love horses are also interested in horse racing. After all, it is one of the biggest equestrian competitions, where people like Oliveira go to in order to get their adrenaline rush.

The adrenaline might not be as big as being in the ring, but it is still an exciting event that fuels their equestrian passion.

But we cannot expect a UFC fighter to enter the Kentucky Derby, right? It would be as impressive as Regret, which according to TwinSpires was the first filly ever to win the Kentucky Derby.

Harness racing, where Oliveira’s interest particularly lies, involves horses trotting or pacing while pulling a driver in a two-wheeled cart known as a sulky. Oliveira’s engagement with this sport underscores his multifaceted personality, balancing the physical demands and discipline of mixed martial arts with the serenity and joy derived from equestrian pursuits. 

But he is not just a casual fan of the sport. Oliveira got involved in harness racing, and even managed to win an exhibition harness race in 2021. So, he is not just a fighter but also a jockey and not many UFC athletes (if any) can claim this title.

His commitment to harness racing, coupled with his achievements in the UFC, paints a picture of a man who not only thrives in the face of competition but also cherishes the tranquility found in nature and animal companionship.

“I’ve always loved horses but not harness racing horses. Gia [Santos] once told me, I’ll take you to the racetrack so you see what’s a real horse, real passion.” He further added, “It’s a horse that has a gigantic heart and never gives up. I came and called my father right away and said we’re on foot meaning we don’t have a good horse. Now, I love harness racing.”

Final Words

His relationship with horses and involvement in harness racing makes Oliveira a truly unique athlete coming from the UFC. This add another intriguing layer to his character, and possibly horse riding and being around horses also has some physical benefits that will help him in fights.