(The July issue, with a cover story written by one of Cage Potato’s own.)
The first thing I learned about Thiago Alves when Fight! Magazine sent me down to south Florida to write this month’s cover story on the UFC’s top welterweight contender, is that is he doesn’t exactly have the same concept of time that most people do. At first I was willing to chalk it up to “Brazilian time.” Then I talked to some of his friends and training partners, who were also Brazilians, and even they thought Thiago had a problem. To them it was a running joke. Brazilian time gave way to “Thiago’s time.” For me, the guy trying to learn as much as possible about him in only a few days, it was a little more stressful.
The good news, I would come to learn, is that even if he may show up three hours late, Thiago always shows up. And when he does he’s so positive and good-natured about everything, it’s hard to even stay annoyed for very long, which is in itself kind of annoying.
Regardless, his training partners and coaches don’t seem to mind it. As I followed him from his strength and conditioning workouts to his sparring sessions, I began to realize that even if it might take him a while to show up, there’s never any question about the work does once he’s there.
Alves isn’t kidding himself about how difficult an opponent Georges St. Pierre is going to be. When I asked him and his American Top Team cohorts where they thought GSP’s weak spots were, none of them could come up with much of an answer. They are expecting the champ to be the beast that everyone says he is. They just think Alves is better.
(Designer sunglasses and a brand new Rover. Livin’ large.)
Personally, I left Florida just amazed that Alves can even make welterweight. It’s proved difficult for him in the past, and once you get a glimpse of him it’s easy to see why. The guy walks around somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 pounds, and yet there’s hardly an ounce of fat on him, which surprised me somewhat after I ate lunch with him and watched him pack away a plate of fried wontons just as a warm-up before getting down to business.
As I think you’ll see in the article, however, few fighters are more driven than Alves. He’s twenty-five years old, has money and fame, owns three cars, and is a few weeks away from a shot at the UFC title. But talking with him or watching him in the gym, you wouldn’t know that he’s achieved anything yet. The guy is always hungry for more, which is a good damn thing considering what’s waiting for him.
Check out the full story on Thiago Alves in this month’s issue of Fight! Magazine, available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, CVS, and just about everywhere else that sells kick-ass MMA publications. Or, for subscriber info, go here.