If the Thiago Alves that is about to step foot in the Octagon on March 3 in Australia met his counterpart from just three years ago, it wouldn’t even be a fight.
It was around that time that Alves was challenging Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight title, a fight that the Brazilian went on to lose by unanimous decision.
Looking back at that time in his career, Alves is honest and reflective, pointing out that the 2009 version had no business being in a title fight.
“The Thiago Alves that fought GSP was not prepared to fight at that level at all. I beat all the guys, I earned the title shot, not like most of the people that fought for the title that fought one guy. I actually cleaned out the welterweight division except (Jon) Fitch. But for that fight I didn’t prepare myself well, mentally I wasn’t prepared for that kind of pressure. The magnitude of the show,” Alves admitted on MMAWeekly Radio.
“That was part of the process. I know my future’s going to be beautiful; it’s going to be bright. It was just part of the process to get to that state of mind that I have right now. Everything changed in my life. I live just for the fight.”
Living for the fight was something Alves learned after a harsh lesson both in and out of the Octagon. Losing to Jon Fitch for a second time and having another weight cutting debacle that almost toppled his UFC career, Alves knew it was time to make some serious changes.
The American Top Team fighter brought in famed nutritionist and strength coach Mike Dolce, who now lives with him full time as he gets ready for his fights. He also learned that to be a fighter, you have to be a fighter all the time.
It wasn’t uncommon for Alves to go out to the clubs just before his fights took place, and give in to various other distractions that served as life’s little pleasures, but brought him very few successes inside the cage.
Now when Thiago Alves wakes up, he’s a fighter. When he goes to the gym, he’s a fighter. When the day is over and he’s eating dinner, he’s a fighter. And when the lights go out and his head hits the pillow to end his day, he’s a fighter.
“Being a fighter, it just doesn’t stop the clock. It’s 24/7. It’s the way you carry yourself throughout the world, throughout life while in this business, and I learned that. I’m a fighter 24/7 and I’m loving every second,” Alves said.
The new version of Thiago Alves is preparing for Kampmann with a new level of ferocity and intensity. He’s not just looking to beat the Dane, he wants to break him.
“I know I’ve got the power and explosion advantage. We’re going to try and break Martin Kampmann,” Alves stated.
“It doesn’t matter where the fight goes. It’s going to be my fight. I’m very concerned with what I’m going to do to him. I’m going to try to break him whether it’s in the stand-up or on the ground. I have all the respect in the world for Martin Kampmann and his camp, but I truly believe that I’m going to break him, it doesn’t matter where the fight goes.”