UFC 100 remains a landmark for the promotion and, with a pay-per-view record set that night of over one and a half million buys, the event will surely forever be etched into the rich tapestry of mma history.
Thiago Alves, however, will always remember that night for different reasons as it was on July 11th at the Mandalay Bay that his dream of becoming a UFC champion did not come true thanks to the relentless George St-Pierre.
The Brazilian’s fortunes have been somewhat mixed since this event but this Saturday’s win against undefeated Papy Abedi was clearly a huge step in the right direction for Alves.
MMAHQ caught up with Thiago Alves just after this victory as he talked about his first submission win in the UFC and turning a corner in his career.
Thiago first of all congratulations on the huge victory against Papy Abedi. In some respects do you think this fight was more dangerous than previous fights because Abedi’s a very tough guy that not a lot of people will have heard of?
Definitely. It’s a fight that I knew I had everything to lose and not a lot to win and I had to do what I did to keep my career but it’s good and I like those kind of challenges. I like those challenges in my career and in my life because they make me stronger.
How did it feel getting a win by submission finally in the UFC? You’re known primarily for your devastating Muay Thai; has there been a change in your training programme after some of the fights you’ve taken against tough wrestlers?
I always had submission skills and people forget that. I’ve trained with American Top Team for over nine years now so I get to train with black belts on a daily basis but I’ve never really had the opportunity to submit anybody.
Well I did have the opportunity but I like to punish people with punches and knockouts but Papy turned his back on me when I was punching him so I took it.
This victory obviously meant a lot to you and, after tough fights that you’ve gone through in the past, do you see this victory as a corner turned? Is this the start of another chapter in the career of Thiago Alves?
Definitely and I’m definitely a new person with a new mentality. I learn a lot throughout this camp for this fight and I’ve got the right people with me. I’ve got Mike Dolce doing my strength and conditioning as well as my nutrition and I’ve got the best coaches in the business over at American Top Team and the best training partners.
It’s just a matter of time now for me to become everything that I said I was going to become. I will be a world champion; it’s just a matter of time.
So what was different about this training camp specifically when compared to other training camps?
I learned a lot in my last fight with Rick Story. You never leave it up to the judges but I had such a good training camp that when it came to fight time I just wanted things to happen. I didn’t want to work.
I just wanted things to happen like a miracle; like I’d just throw a kick and he’d just hit his head on my leg or something like that and I learned that you’ve got to put in work in training but if you don’t perform when it matters then it’s all for nothing.
Sometimes you forget these things when you get good wins but now I’m focused on performing whenever I step inside the Octagon and I’m really excited for this new phase in my career.
Going forward from this fight is there anyone that you’ve currently got your eye on taking on next? Are there any fights that really interest you or are you content to wait it out?
Right now my goal is to be a world champion but I know I’m a few fights away from that so I’ll take whoever they throw at me. Joe Silva is the best in the business so whoever he suggests we’ll take and then go through them and onwards to the next one.
So 2012 is sure to be a big year for you it sounds. What can we expect to see from Thiago Alves?
The sky’s the limit and you can expect a lot more submissions and a lot more knockouts. I’m going to continue to work my way back up to a world title so get used to me because I ain’t going nowhere.
Congratulations again on a fantastic performance; is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Thanks again for your time.