Thiago Alves was basically retired until BKFC called for Mike Perry fight: ‘Money talks’

By all accounts, Thiago Alves thought his fighting career was done.

After knocking out Uly Diaz to become BKFC middleweight champion in 2021, the now 40-year-old Brazilian veteran didn’t get an offer that enticed him enough to fight again. With his focus shifting towards coaching, as he’s now one of the primary instructors at American Top Team in Florida, Alves never retired but also didn’t expect to compete again.

That all changed when BKFC came calling with a huge payday and a chance to face Mike Perry at KnuckleMania IV on Saturday.

“I’m always active,” Alves told MMA Fighting. “I’m six days out of the week at American Top Team working with top-level athletes. It’s important to stay in shape so you can show what you’re trying to tell them really works. When you can actually apply what you’re talking about, it’s always easier. So I’m always in shape, always training.

“I wasn’t training with the fighting mind at all. I was done with this part of my career, but BKFC literally called me on Monday coming back from Saudi Arabia [after the PFL vs Bellator card] and they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. It’s like, alright, I guess it’s time to get back in there! Here we are.”

Alves quietly walked away from active competition because he didn’t think another offer would come his way to make it worth his time to fight again. He was completely resolved in his new life helping fighters like Dustin Poirier and working alongside other coaches such as former WEC champion Mike Brown.

He never made some headline-worthy announcement about retirement because Alves was always open for business under the right circumstances.

“I had great things going on outside of fighting,” Alves said. “Coaching. I’m a MMA director for an online training platform called Life Training, where you can learn anything you want from high-level professionals in the field, so I had that. My family life as well was great. So I wasn’t planning on [fighting anymore], but again, I never really closed that door.

“I always felt I had one more in me. At least one more in me.”

While returning to face Perry was never in Alves’ long-term planning, he’s not saying this fight will be his last. Saturday could be the final time he competes, but Alves promises he’s always open to potential offers, which is how the BKFC deal was brokered in the first place.

“Money talks,” Alves said. “You can always use some extra money in your bank account, especially today. It’s important to stay active. It’s important to stay open to opportunities. I wasn’t planning on it, I wasn’t waiting for anything. It just happened to fall in my lap, so I’m ready, I’m excited. I’m going to go out there and show what the ‘King of Violence’ looks like.”

Despite nearly three years off between fights, Alves has one major advantage to help him get ready for Perry in a way some of Perry’s past opposition never did.

With two bare-knuckle fights already on his résumé, Alves knows what it’s like to hit and get hit in that BKFC ring, which was new to fighters like Michael Page and Luke Rockhold when they accepted a similar challenge with Perry.

“I’m battle tested,” Alves said. “I know what it takes to win inside of that squared circle. I’m excited. I’m really excited. It’s been a long journey to get back in there. I always felt there was something missing, the extra motivation in my daily life, and it’s the perfect time. I wish I had a little bit more prior notice so I could prepare more, but eight weeks is enough.

“I already have the experience. I know what it takes. He’s not going to be fighting somebody that’s just looking for a big payday. He’s going to fight a guy who’s been there, done it, and I’m going to go out there and do it again.”

Long before they were scheduled to trade punches in bare-knuckle, Alves was actually matched up against Perry in the UFC.

Back in 2017, Alves was supposed to face Perry at a UFC Fight Night card in Pittsburgh, but a hurricane hit Florida and it prevented the one-time welterweight title challenger from making the trip. The storm forced Alves and his family to move into the gym at American Top Team, and they lost their beloved pet dog during the tragic incident.

There were also repercussions in his professional life, as Alves claims UFC matchmaker Joe Silva never forgot about him dropping out of the Perry fight despite the extreme circumstances that prevented him from traveling to that event.

“I kind got blacklisted from the UFC after that, not being able to make it,” Alves said. “Joe Silva at the time, kind of had a little [grudge] against me because he thought I didn’t want to fight. I tried. I tried to leave Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. [Flight didn’t happen.] I’ve got to do what’s best for my family.

“You know how it is sometimes when companies want you to be all about them and not about what’s important for you. I just made a decision. I paid for that decision. Joe Silva wasn’t happy with me at that time, but it is what it is. Here we are and I’m glad that I made that decision.”

Now, seven years later, Alves hopes to settle some unfinished business with Perry.

Obviously this time it’s in a much different combat sport, but Alves expects the results will still be the same as he planned back then.

“I think I’m just a better striker overall,” Alves said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re going to use kicks or not. I think I’m more polished. I think I’ve been in there with better fighters as well. The fight against Julian Lane, I thought he lost. The fight against Michael Page, besides the knockdown, I thought he got pieced up in that fight as well. Luke [Rockhold] is not about that life. Eddie Alvarez was piecing him up in the beginning of the fight. If it wasn’t [for] that punch that broke his orbital bone, it would be a completely different result.

“We’re excited. We’re confident. We know he’s tough. We know he’s supposedly the A-side because they’re trying to build him. He’s younger, he has the following behind him, but we’re going to crash the party. I think I’m going to finish him in the fourth round. I’m going to put him away in the fourth round.”

Source link

You May Also Like