Competing for the first time in Rio de Janeiro after a 36-fight career, welterweight veteran Thiago Alves wants to give the fans a fight to remember at UFC 237. Paired up against up-and-coming Laureano Staropoli, all ‘Pitbull’ wants is to put on an exciting striking match for his fellow countrymen.
In an interview with Combate, Alves pointed out that his opponent’s lack of experience might be an advantage for himself, but he does not plan on underestimating Staropoli’s skills.
“I know he is not experienced as me. This will be this biggest fight of his career, he’ll be ready for a war. I have been in his situation, I fought more experienced guys when I was younger, so I know what to expect. I want to get it done quickly. He’s a warrior, he’ll make things difficult, he fights well in both stances. He’s aggressive, young, but I’ll be ready for that. We’ll meet in the center and slug it out, one of us will go down first.”
At 35 years of age and having a UFC career that dates back to 2005, Thiago has been through some ups and downs lately, losing more than winning for the past years, while also submitting himself to surgeries in order to tackle nagging injuries. However, despite all that, the Brazilian still does not consider retiring from the sport just yet - not while he is still having fun fighting, that is.
“I don’t know (when I will retire), but I’m feeling pretty damn well. I’m 35 and still improving. I’m still learning and my body is well, so we’ll see how it goes. My focus right now is to win, then we see what’s next. I’ve been fighting since I’m 22, I know I’ll have to quit at some point. It’s stupid of me.
“Many fighters make that mistake when the time to stop comes and they don’t know what to do. Life goes on. Programming my life for after I’m done is a natural process. Once you hit this age, you must think about this. Many fighters retire and then think about coming back, not me. Once I’m done, I’m done. But I’m focused on a war now. I’m having too much fun to stop. I’m thrilled. But I know what I’m going to do when I retire.”
Thiago Alves is expected to take on Laureano Staropoli at UFC 237, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 11. The card will be headlined by a female strawweight title fight between the champion, Rose Namajunas, and contender Jessica Andrade.