UFC welterweight Thiago Alves drew the wrath of his boss, UFC President Dana White, this past Saturday at UFC 117 when he failed to make weight for his bout against Jon Fitch. Add to that the fact that he looked uncharacteristically flat in his performance against Fitch and you get White calling for Alves to move up in weight to fight at middleweight, a move which Alves told MMAJunkie.com that he feels would be detrimental to his career.
“I think (at) 185, the guys are way too big for me,” Alves said.
Alves weighted in at 171.5, a half pound over the weight limit for the welterweight class. Rather than attempt to shed the extra half pound, Alves chose instead to take the 20% deduction from his purse in order to refrain from taxing his body any further.
“Could I have lost half a pound?” Alves asked. “I believe so, but it would have taken me a long time to get the half a pound to come off. So it was just easier for me at the time to let them take 20 percent of my purse. I wasn’t happy or anything like that. But it was the smarter decision for me.”
The American Top Team-trained fighter came off of a year-long layoff when he took on Fitch, a result of an abnormal connection between an artery and vein in his brain which required surgery and a mandatory layoff. Alves feels that the layoff played more of a role in his poor performance than he originally believed that it would.
“After my ‘GSP’ fight, I fought the next guy in line, who’s Jon Fitch,” said Alves. “I’m jumping from the top to the top. So I didn’t perform at my best, but consider the facts. I think I did pretty good. But I think the biggest thing was the time off.”
As far as correcting his weight problems for the future, Alves has hired nutritionist and The Ultimate Fighter 7 alum Mike Dolce, who will move in with Alves eight weeks before a fight in order to ensure that the Brazilian can make weight healthily and still perform to his best ability come fight night.
“He’s going to be taking care of all my nutrition and supplementation,” Alves said. “Eight weeks out, he’s going to move into my house and follow me through my whole camp. [I’m] going to fix things I need to fix at the gym and in my lifestyle.”
Though Dolce’s nutrition regimen may be intense and Alves will be required to share his house with him, “Pitbull” said that he is willing to do anything in order to get back in the win column and stay at welterweight.
“I’ll do whatever I have to do to get back on the winning track,” said Alves. “I don’t care.”
Alves feels that he is too small and not strong enough to compete at middleweight and in today’s hyper-competitive world of MMA he wants to retain every advantage that he possibly can.
“I’m too short (at middleweight),” Alves said. “That will be a big disadvantage for me to move to 185. I’m going to lose a lot of strength, also, because the guys are much, much bigger and taller than me. At 170, I’m good. I’ve got a good reach, and I’m sharper than most of the guys I fight.
Finally, Alves apologized to his fans for letting them down by not making weight and not performing to his best abilities against Jon Fitch at UFC 117.
“I want to apologize to all my fans,” he said. “I’ve never been through this situation before. I hate it, and I’m never going to allow myself to get into this situation again.”