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Alex Oliveira claims UFC fame made him a ‘slacker’: ‘I stopped being an athlete’

UFC welterweight Alex Oliveira is ready to turn his life around and take his career seriously again, starting with UFC on ESPN 14 this weekend.

Welterweight banger Alex Oliveira is the first to admit he did not cope well with the fame and lifestyle that comes with being a UFC fighter. Paired up against Peter Sobotta for a bout where his job could be on the line at UFC on ESPN 14, ‘Cowboy’ hopes to start a new chapter in his career.

Between December 2018 and September 2019, Alex lost three consecutive fights in the Octagon, which put him in a tight spot with the company. To top it off, Oliveira’s ex-wife also accused him of domestic abuse and driving away on a motorcycle while carrying their baby, back in May of last year.

Although Oliveira says the woman, with whom he’s back together with, changed her mind on pressing charges, he admits times were tough both inside and outside of the Octagon. In an interview with Combate, Cowboy wants to show the world he still has the talent and mindset to go far in the UFC, despite his recent struggles.

“I went through a time where I was an athlete, but a very emotional one,” Oliveira said. “It took awhile for me earn a shot to fight in the UFC. When that shot came, a lot of stuff came with it. New friendships, a lot of partying, you know? I felt like the man of the hour. I was pretty conformed, relaxed. I stopped being an athlete and became a slacker. When I noticed that, I thought to myself: ‘That’s not Alex, that’s the Cowboy’. I talked to my master and he told me: ‘You have the mind of a champion, you can be one of the best. What’s going on?’ We talked a lot, I really matured in this aspect of MMA. I have to think with the mind of a champion. That’s my mindset now.”

Even though Oliveira did pick up a split decision victory over Max Griffin back in March, that does not mean Alex was satisfied with the outcome. Now, Cowboy wants to make up for the time he lost before and get back into the division’s top 15, which he knows will demand massive effort and dedication from his part.

“The pressure is still the same,” Oliveira said. “It’s not because I won one fight by decision that I feel comfortable. I still the pressure, that thirst to win, like everyone who wants to reach the top. We might stumble along the way, but you can’t let that stop you. I still feel the pressure to really show everyone I can still be one of the best fighters in the world. I was in the top 15, it really bothered me when I got pushed out. I don’t feel relaxed anymore, I’ve been looking to train at other gyms. I didn’t like to work out, but I’ve been working out a lot. We learn from our mistakes. I learned a lot from mine. I need to show the world I have the mindset of a champion.”

Before his aforementioned victory against Max Griffin, Alex Oliveira (20-8-1-2 NC) lost to Nicolas Dalby, Mike Perry, and Gunnar Nelson. His last stoppage win came against Carlo Pedersoli Jr in 2018.

Now, Alex Oliveira is expected to take on Peter Sobotta at UFC Fight Island 3, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on July 25. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a middleweight bout between former champion Robert Whittaker and contender Darren Till.