Alberto Mina's fighting career has had a rough couple of years.
It's not because he was losing either. In fact, the Hong Kong-based Brazilian is undefeated at 10-0, with every single victory coming by finish. In 2010, the double-black belt in Judo and BJJ beat TUF alum Dean Amasinger and was considered as one of the best welterweight prospects in the world. He followed up with a win in Greece, but unfortunately, he would fight sparingly since then.
With the notoriety he was getting from those wins, Mina went on to sign with Bellator, only to have contractual issues with the promotion. What was supposed to be his debut in the big leagues, ended up with the decorated grappler being shelved and losing a couple of years from an already short career span in MMA.
"It had become a big issue, then I've just been on hold, stuck on that contract," Mina told BloodyElbow earlier this year, "I used my lawyers and everything to get me a release. It cost me nearly two years."
Unable to compete in MMA, Mina continued as a coach at Hong Kong's famed Epic MMA gym, and once he sorted out and got free of Bellator, Mina returned to competition and his winning ways. He displayed a much improved stand up game and stopped Team Quest's Glenn Sparv, and that's when the UFC came calling.
Everything seemed to fall back into place, and he was to make his UFC debut last February. He had a full camp and was at the cusp for the biggest moment of his career, until Zak Cummings failed to make weight leading to the cancellation of that bout.
Mina had to wait another 6 months.
He was finally re-booked to face Sheldon Westcott in Macau, and as we fast forward to August, his opponent had to pull out due to injury, and Mina feared his long awaited debut will be pushed back yet again.
"The first view I had, I was very disappointed," Mina said about learning Westcott wasn't going to be able to compete, "I had to dig deep, recover myself and just move forward."
"I believe at that point, I really can't be negative about that fight. I just have to be positive, and it didn't matter who I will face. I thought the fight could've been delayed, but it was going to happen sooner or later."
Fortunately, the UFC had found a more than suitable replacement, signing Middleweight King of Pancrase, Shinsho Anzai. The Japanese rising star was coming off a spectacular win over long time champion Ryo Kawamura, and at the time the UFC called, he was already in shape and was doing a test cut down to welterweight.
Somehow, the UFC managed to find a qualified and ready fighter with less than two weeks notice, and the fight was back on.
"I found out a week ago, maximum. Right when I finished my camp, basically," Mina states, "A few days after my camp, I learned about the change, and I was going to face a fighter that was completely different in regards of body type and style."
Related: BE's UFC: Bisping vs. Le Media Day Photos: Staredowns, Ronda Rousey and Dana White Q&A
It's going to be another challenge having to alter a game plan when camp should already be over, but with everything that has happened, Mina was just glad his debut was still pushing through.
"At this point of my career, I cannot choose people and I cannot choose situations anymore," he exclaims, "I've been visualizing a fight against a guy who is taller than me, southpaw and everything. Then the fighter I will see now is an orthodox guy, shorter than me and with heavy hands."
"So yeah, It's pretty difficult I could say, but I prefer not to put myself and (dwell) on this issue. I just want to be there and do my best no matter against who I'm faced with," he says. "I've waited for my whole life for this, and I'm not going to choose people or choose fights, I just have to be ready for them."
Barring any more last minute mishaps, Mina will finally make his long overdue UFC debut in front of a ruckus crowd in his adopted home. Better late than never, right?