American Top Team welterweight Thiago Alves (18-8) has struggled over the past few years since shredding those standing in his way of the title-shot he eventually earned in 2009. Since falling short against Georges St. Pierre in the bout the “Pitbull” hasn’t been the same fight, losing two of his next three fights in large part to an inability to stay on his feet.

Alves’ next test comes this weekend at UFC 138 where he’ll face undefeated Swede Papy Abedi, a debuting Judoka who has five strike-based stoppages to his credit meaning things could stay standing or go to the ground depending on how things unfold.

The 28-year old Alves recently spoke about the current state of his career where he made it evident he felt good about his weight, his life, and his improvement overall as a competitor.

“I’m to the point in my life right now that I don’t want to lose any fights anymore and it’s up to me. I control my destiny, and I took control of all my actions and everything that happens in my life,” Alves explained in a conversation with the UFC’s website. “This is it. I’m gonna take charge of my present and my future, and I’m not losing any fights anymore. I put in the work, and now I just have to go out there and perform at my best, and I know once I’m at my best, nobody can stop me.”

Though he isn’t looking too far ahead, Alves has his sights set on anyone who can let him test his evolving mat-based acumen.

“I’m looking for a wrestler after this just to see what I’m capable of doing,” Alves continued. “That’s the whole MMA game, and you’ve got to adjust to every situation. It’s flattering that they don’t want to stand and trade with me, but it shows that I need to improve in other areas. I’ve done it before, and it’s just a matter of time before I do it again. Everything in my life now, I think it’s just a matter of time. I’m gonna get everything that I want to get; it’s just timing and I’ve got to be patient and act when I need to act.”

When he steps onto the scale in Birmingham, England tomorrow to weigh-in for UFC 138 it will also mark the first time Alves feels truly confident about how he’s handled the process.

“This time I see the results on my body and the change in my body and I see the change on the scale as well, so it’s pretty awesome not having to worry about the weight, and the weight is no longer an issue, so it’s one less worry in my head, and I’m very excited to get in there and perform.”

Fans can catch Alves fighting Abedi on the PPV portion of UFC 138 when it airs for free on Spike TV at 8:00 PM EST this Saturday night.


MMATraining Take: Alves needs to win this fight in dominating fashion to truly sell me as a semi-believer. He’s 28 and should be progressing, not regressing. He hasn’t finished anyone in three years and could be at risk of release with a stumble against a relative nobody in MMA like Abedi.