Thiago Alves returned to the welterweight division at UFC 210, defeating the now retired Patrick Cote by unanimous decision.
The one time title challenger feels that he can still hang with the elite of the welterweight division.
“I’ve been at the top of the weight class for years now,” Alves said after UFC 210. “I got myself out of the rankings twice, once by inactivity – I’ve had four surgeries in two years – and the second by trying to drop to lightweight. I’m back. I know I belong to the top, so it’s just a matter of me getting active again. I’m active, and I think it will be nice to get a top 10. I know if I’m healthy, I’m able to fight hard. I have the technique and the will and the power to compete at the top of this weight class. So I feel pretty good.”
Alves had a failed one fight stint at lightweight, where he first failed to make weight and then suffered a decision loss to Jim Miller at UFC 205.
Although he has been in the UFC for over a decade now, the welterweight star still loves stepping into the Octagon.
“I love what I do,” Alves said. “I think I’m blessed. I’ve been in the UFC for 12 years. I don’t know how many people are able to stay at the highest level for this long. I feel now, at 33, I still got a long time to go. And I’m finally enjoying it again and having fun and going to the gym two, three times a day just to hang out and learn, and be better. I think it was a good thing that (Miller fight) didn’t go my way.”
During those 12 years inside the Octagon, the fighter has previously challenged for the UFC Welterweight Title, losing to then champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 100.