Veteran UFC welterweight Thiago Alves will return to action this weekend (Saturday May 3oth), as he takes on former interim champion Carlos Condit in the main event of UFC Fight Night 67. ‘The Pitbull’ currently rides a two fight win streak since his successful comeback win over Seth Baczynski, and near-death experience against Jordan Mein. The Strikeforce veteran Mein was battering Alves in the stand up, until the Brazilian winged a hail Mary kick to the gut that put an end to the fight in round one.
‘The Natural Born Killer’ became synonymous with exciting fights at the top level, and proved himself on multiple occasions. Known for being able to take a punch as good as he delivers one, there aren’t many around that wouldn’t give Condit a huge chance in this fight. Speaking with MMAJunkie.com, Alves claims that not only will he beat CC, but he’ll go on to become the next UFC welterweight champion:
“I’m very excited,” Alves said. “It’s been 12 years, I think. It’s a blessing that the UFC definitely gave me a gift to be able to come here in my country and fight Carlos Condit and to reclaim the top 10 or top 5 spot. It’s a great opportunity that I’m not going to waste. I trained very, very hard for this fight and I’m ready to put on a show. I’m ready to put him away and show the division that I’ll be the next welterweight champion.”
Alves’ 14 year MMA career is highlighted with brutal finishes against Matt Hughes, Karo Parysian, Vhris Lytle and more recently Mein, but he has also lost rather consistently to the upper tier fighters in the division. They don’t come much more upper tier than Condit, but the Brazilian ATT (American Top Team) stand out feels it’s different this time around, and he can get over that hump:
“I’m more mature, I know my body well. I know this game so well. My team is a lot better than what it was a few years ago. I train with a lot better training partners who have a lot more resources than before. It’s just a matter of time. My big rise is going to start Saturday night.”
“I’ve always been a professional athlete. I started fighting professionally at 15 years old. But I was a professional, fighting professionally and training very, very hard. I didn’t take care of my body outside of training like I am right now. My lifestyle right now is 24/7 toward my career. Everything else comes in second place.”
“That’s it, the maturity I learned as you get older, it’s not just how hard you train but how hard you recover and how hard you prep yourself for the next training session. It’s everything involved. It’s definitely a lifestyle. You can never turn that switch off. I’m fighting, thinking about fighting and training 24/7. But, at the same time, once you accept that and you make that your lifestyle you’re able to relax a lot more because it’s just what you do. It’s normal.”
We’ll see how Alves handles the high pressure of being across the octagon from a ‘Killer’ like Condit. Many have talked a rich game before facing the Jackson’s MMA product in the past, but have ultimately eaten words in spectacular fashion on fight night.
Do you think this will be Thiago Alves’ coming of age moment, or will it be a beast of a comeback for Carlos Condit?