Former UFC welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves became the newest MMA fighter to join the world of bare knuckling boxing after signing an exclusive deal with Bare Knuckle FC earlier this year.
Alves, 36, had lost six out of his last 10 UFC appearances dating back to 2014 so it’s understandable that the veteran was looking for a fresh start. The fact that BKFC was willing to throw good money at “Pitbull,” who fought Georges St-Pierre for welterweight gold at UFC 100 over 10 years ago, was icing on the cake.
“It’s a mix of a new challenge and good money,” Alves told MMA Fighting, confirming he’ll earn six figures in 2020. “The money they offered me made it worth it.”
While Alves’ experience inside of the Octagon should allow him to make an immediate impact in the world of bare knuckle boxing it’s still going to be an adjustment for the 19-year MMA veteran. Not only for Alves himself, but also the people around him.
“She watched it with me before and said, ‘You’ll never fight that,’ and I told her, ‘Never say never,’” Alves laughed when describing a conversation he had with his wife. “When I told her about the contract, the money, she said, ‘Alright, you can do it.’”
“I’ve watched some fights, and thought it was super cool, bloody, with lots of cuts, but I think this style matches perfectly with my game,” he continued. “That’s why I decided to test myself there. I’m sure I’ll do great. I’m excited to be part of this company. I’m here to become champion, and the money they are giving me, I have nothing to complain about, only to be thankful. I’ll train my ass off to become champion. I’ll break some faces there.”
With 13 career knockouts in MMA competition it’s no secret that Alves will bring serious power with him to the BKFC ring. Some might even say “Pitbull” was tailor made for such a venture, but that still doesn’t make it easy to walk away from a promotion he’s called home since 2005.
“It’s hard to leave the UFC,” Alves said. “I was in the UFC for a long time, and they kind of set a standard for what other promotions have to do in order for me to get excited to fight for another promotion. The UFC is the best promotion in the world, so it would have to be great money to make it worth it. Bare Knuckle FC exceeded my expectations, and it’s also a new challenge. At this point of my career, having a new challenge and also getting paid for it, I can’t say no.”
Alves will join the likes of Hector Lombard, Chris Leben, Artem Lobov, Antonio Silva, Bec Rawlings, Jason Knight, and Gabriel Gonzaga as former UFC fighters to take their talents to BKFC.