In a sport as brutal as mixed martial arts you will notice that many fighters have somewhat of a persona about them. They put off the image of being guys who you don't want to mess with. Ruthless people who you would avoid in the street. When you look at a guy like Thiago Alves, you see a fighter that is absolutely ripped and has the intensity of a pitbull...no pun intended. Would it surprise you if I told you that Thiago is actually a momma's boy? Yeah? Then go ahead and read this interview with Thiago about his life; you might just be surprised about the person behind the fighter.
EVA: You've been fighting since you were a teenager. Do you feel that the experience you received with that enriched your life as a teenager in Brazil or do you feel that it caused you to miss out on things?
ALVES: I trained my whole life. I started training seriously when I was thirteen. At first it was fun, but I became agitated because I was training Monday through Saturday. Pretty much every day. I had my fun and everything, but for me it was all training. I became really close with the people from the gym. I remember having fun when I would go to school and everything with girls and things like that. I had a girlfriend for five years.
EVA: How did your family react to your decision to fight?
ALVES: At first they thought I was crazy because I'm like the black sheep of the family. I'm a momma's boy. She thought me fighting was just a phase and that it would pass and everything. I started fighting professionally and becoming more serious about it, and then I started making money. I bought a car for my mom and everything. I got invited to America. My mom started freaking out “You're crazy. You're not going. That's not allowed. You need to help me out in the bakery.” I'm like “Mom, but I don't want to be a baker.” We all bake in Brazil. I was supposed to work in the bakery and everything. I put her in contact with my coach so that she would know that I would be taken care of. That made her a little bit more calm. We were in a really bad financial situation in Brazil, but after six months I was able to help them.
EVA: Does she feel really nervous when she sees you in the cage?
AVLES: She doesn't really watch my fights until after they're over. When I'm fighting she's praying, praying, praying. She's on her knees with my grandma. After the fight is over she goes back and watches if I won. If I lose she doesn't want to see (laughs).
EVA: Typically fighters don't eat before they have a fight because they need to cut weight. What's the one thing that you crave most when you have a fight coming up?
ALVES: I think my biggest craving is carbs. I'm not picky at all. I like to eat good. I was raised with rice, beans, pasta, and of course steak. I'm not a big fan of salads.
EVA: You're making me hungry. What's your favorite sport other than fighting?
ALVES: That's a tough one because I don't really watch any sports. People ask me all the time. I'd say my favorite sport besides fighting is playing video games (laughs).
EVA: What is your favorite video game?
ALVES: I have an Xbox and Playstation 3 and right now I'm really into games where I can kill people. I don't even know the name of it, but I like it because I'm a sniper man. I just shoot those guys.
EVA: How did you feel about being in the UFC video game?
ALVES: It's really cool. I played it once or twice, but it's kind of complicated. There's so many buttons that I have to press just to throw a kick. I don't really enjoy it, but it's cool because people call me all the time to say they are kicking ass with me on the game. I just tell them to make sure they don't lose. It's pretty cool.
EVA: Your fight with Fitch was canceled and then rescheduled. With the incident with your brain, do you have any reluctance to get into that cage again?
ALVES: It's been a totally new experience for me. I feel good now. I've went back to my old way of thinking. I just want to do better in training and be the best that I can be in my sport. I just want to get back and see how much I have improved. I'm ready to get into the octagon and get it on and show what I've improved.
EVA: Watching your fights, people can see that you use real brute force and sometimes look untouchable. Do you feel that you have any weaknesses, both in the ring or outside? Women maybe?
ALVES: (laughs) Nah, I got no problems there. I think it's my mind. I get distracted. I feel that the only person who can beat me is myself. If I don't concentrate a hundred percent on what I have to do that's a bad thing. Physically I don't think anyone out there can really touch me. I'm on top of my game. At every point in my life, if I don't do what I have to do, that's usually my big mistake. I think that my biggest enemy is myself sometimes.
EVA: What do you think to yourself to calm yourself down before you enter the cage?
ALVES: I always just want to get in there and put my hands on someone. You prepare so much for the fight that having to wait is the hardest part for me. After that it's just a blast. You get to eat, you get to kick some ass, and you get to put all the training you did to use. The only hard thing for me is having to be patient. I'm always really happy, excited, and anxious. Once it's go time it's go time.
EVA: Why are you called The Pitbull?
ALVES: I don't know if you've ever owned a pitbull, but they are really always very calm and polite outside of a fight. Then once a fight starts they keep going until the fight is done. Not until someone has to pull them off. That's how I am.
EVA: What do you see yourself doing after you retire?
ALVES: That's a good question. The thing about MMA is that it's still growing and it opens a lot of doors. I see myself doing some kind of acting and movies. I'm definitely going to have my gym. I'm a Muay Thai guy. I'll be all over the world.
EVA: Thanks for taking the time for the interview. Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
ALVES: I would like to thank them for their support and everything. It's been almost a year since I've fought and I'm still getting a lot of emails and things. I just want to thank everyone out there that likes me. I want to thank the guys from American Top Team.