The question, whether or not a teammate should fight a teammate, might be as old as the profession of prize fighting. Most of the bigger camps in modern MMA categorically rule out fights between two of their members, even if the stakes are high. Not so American Top Team's Thiago Alves. The stakes can't certainly get any higher than a shot at the UFC title. And if a chance like that would present itself to the "Pitbull", he would grab it -- regardless of who he would have to fight for it.
Alves faces Carlos Condit in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Alves on Saturday. He believes, a win over the number-four ranked welterweight, would bring him directly into title contention.
"Definitely. A win over him, I'll be the next one in the line, if not, probably one fight away from a fight for the belt," Alves told MMA Fighting's Guilherme Cruz at the open workouts on Thursday.
The problem: The UFC's welterweight champion is currently Thiago Alves' teammate Robbie Lawler, who will defend the belt against Rory MacDonald at UFC 189 in July. Alves predicts that Lawler will keep the title, and hopes for a title opportunity against him.
"Robbie, he's just gonna knock him out or submit him, but the belt is gonna stay at ATT and hopefully we get to fight for the belt."
Alves is currently ranked number 12 in the UFC's official rankings. Before even thinking about the title, he needs to pass former interim champion Carlos Condit on Saturday, who returns from a year-long layoff due to a torn ACL. Six of Condit's last eight fights have been either Fight of the Night or Knockout of the Night performances. However, Alves promises a quick finish.
"I'm gonna knock out or submit him, it's not gonna go the distance. If it goes the distance, he's gonna take the beating of his life."
UFC Fight Night 67: Condit vs. Alves takes place this Saturday in Goiânia, Brazil.