Tomorrow night at UFC 174, MMA fans will be treated to the return of the Pitbull. Andrei Arlovski made his name in the UFC, and after 7 years outside the organization, he will make his re-entry into the Octagon against Brendan Schaub. I am an Arlovski fan. I have never denied this, so for me, it's going to be a night for celebration.
MMA Sentinel interviewed Andrei recently who discussed his UFC goals, where he fits in the Heavyweight line-up, what he missed most during his hiatus and how training with Greg Jackson changed him as a fighter. Here's what he had to say:
I'm at the beginning of my road with the UFC again. I'm in the line like other heavyweights. I feel like I've become a much smarter fighter, both mentally and physically. When I left the UFC, it was a good business decision for me at the time, but it's good to be back home with the promotion where I made my name. When I would fight in other organizations, people would be like, ‘Oh, the Arlovski, you are UFC fighter, right?' And of course, that's how everyone knows me.
I'm looking at my situation realistically. I'm an employee of the UFC, and whatever they think is right for me is what I'll do. I definitely want to fight the top guys, everybody who is in front of me, I want to fight them. I just need to take it one step at a time, starting with Schaub.
Working with Greg Jackson has made me very confident in my skills. If I had started working with him right after the Emilianenko fight, it might be a different story right now. What happens, happens, though, and I'm still young enough to pursue my goals. I don't feel it's impossible to reach them. I feel like I'm in my prime years right now, and I'm ready to go like Nike, just do it.
The thing I miss about the UFC is just being there and being part of that family. Also, Bruce Buffer is gonna announce my name. I really miss that and can't wait for him to do that again. It's a lot of little things that put together add up to the big picture. I'm very excited to be back.
You can follow Andrei via his Twitter account, @AndreiArlovski