Thomas Almeida turned heads with a stunning first round TKO win over veteran Yves Jabouin at UFC 186. Diego Lima, his coach and head of the Chute Boxe camp in Sao Paulo, knows his pupil could have a great future ahead of him, but at 23 years old and 2-0 in the UFC, they feel no need to rush him.
"I already expected a great fight. We sort of knew what Jabouin would do, and Thominhas woke up after that take down. When he got back up, I breathed deeply because I knew it was his time" He told Portal do Vale Tudo. "Jabouin could be more experienced than him in the UFC, but Thomas has 19 MMA fights and 32 more in Muay Thai, so he is really experienced, too. He is still so young, we must take one step at a time. The media and the UFC are all over him, and that's nice, but we're not in a hurry. Whoever the UFC tells us to fight, we will."
The win awarded Almeida a Performance of The Night bonus, much praise from boss Dana White and a spot in the Top 15, but Diego won't get any of that get to his head. He knows that from now on, every challenge will be harder than the last.
"I told Thomas on Sunday he had won in very impressive fashion, so we would have to train three times harder than the last time, because he would get a guy at least three times tougher. The UFC likes young, tough guys who can put on a show. He is explosive, a muay thai figher who comes to finish and that's what people like to see. I believe the UFC has big plans for him".