On Dec. 10, UFC fans were introduced to a new fighter. Well, at least a new and improved fighter, as Thiago Alves made weight for his UFC 124 fight against John Howard with a smile on his face, with no problems making the 171-pound limit.
Alves’ long-standing problems with cutting weight have been well documented, so after his struggles resulted in missing the welterweight limit for his fight with Jon Fitch back in August, he made a change. Alves began working with nutritionist and strength coach Mike Dolce.
As the Brazilian stepped onto the scale, he had a smile on his face and energy in his step for the first time in years when making weight.
“I was really, really happy. I was very excited. I couldn’t believe how easy it was,” Alves told MMAWeekly Radio about the weight cut for the fight. “I was just happy to be there, happy to be a part of the whole thing and to also be fighting.”
Going back several years, Alves has never had an easy time making weight and while his impressive performances generally overshadowed anything he did before the fight, he was never a happy guy on Friday.
“You have no idea how depressed I used to get before, like two days before weigh-ins,” Alves said. “I was too big before weigh-ins, it was never easy if you’re a fighter to make weight, but I was just miserable. This time I was eating, like we ate five times the day before, just good portions, and I was like wow I can’t believe it.
“I was happy, I was good, just not the kind of weigh-in I’m used to. I was having fun at the whole show, like once you get there usually you just want to get it over because you want to start eating again, and you don’t get that feeling that you get to enjoy anything. This time I had a lot of energy and I was just loving life.”
The mistakes that Alves made were crucial according to the fighter, and Dolce helped to correct those problems on the first day they began working together.
“It was just eating and eating a lot of quality food. I used to take a lot of shakes and drink a lot of stuff that you shouldn’t be drinking, and a lot of stuff that you shouldn’t be eating before a fight. It was a learning experience, now I’m really, really happy to be working with Mike Dolce,” Alves professed.
With a new outlook on his diet and weight cutting hopefully a thing of the past, Alves now only has to continue his work at his camp with American Top Team and become the one man wrecking crew he believes he’s able to be.
He even says it may be a rebirth of sorts, and the welterweight division is about to be introduced to a whole new and improved Thiago Alves.
“You’re always starting over again, but you learn from your mistakes and I’ve learned a lot,” Alves said. “I’m happy I went through all those things I had to go through to get to this point today, and I definitely feel the sky’s the limit now. I can do and be everything I always wanted to be. I’m just going to go out there and do what I’m supposed to do and have fun with it.”
As far as the work he’s done with Dolce, the coach himself has said that Alves is still only performing at around 80 percent of his total capabilities and the future is going to be scary for everyone at 170 pounds. It’s no longer just work they’re doing, it’s a lifestyle and Alves is on board for the ride.
“It’s a partnership that’s just started,” he said about working with Dolce. “It’s the first thing I said when I talked to him (after the fight), we’re going to make history bro.”