Destiny for Pitbull?

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

Thiago "Pitbull" Alves believes it's his destiny to take the UFC welterweight belt from Canada's Georges St. Pierre.

"I was born for this fight. I know it's my time," says the 25-year-old Brazilian, who has a 16-3 pro record.

Alves -- who has been called the three-headed monster by fellow Brazilians because his bulging shoulders mirror his shaved head -- will take on St. Pierre next Saturday at UFC 100 in Las Vegas.

The chiseled 170-pounder has nothing but respect for the Montreal native, but says a lifetime of preparation and struggles have prepared him for this fight.

"I come from Brazil and it wasn't easy for me when I got here," recalls Alves, who moved to the U.S. when he was 19.

"I got here with $500 in my pocket, you know, just to pursue my dream to be the best fighter in the world. I left my family there and before that I'd never been away from them for more than two weeks."

His first fight in North America was at Hardcore Fighting Championships 2, in which he earned a split-decision win over now-UFC contemporary Marcus "Irish Hand Grenade" Davis.

Alves had just turned 20 and would spend the next couple of years toiling in smaller shows, building his record. Then he celebrated his 22nd birthday with a call-up to the UFC.

Despite losing the Ultimate Fight Night 2 scrap to Spencer "The King" Fisher, Alves has remained in the big show, amassing a 9-2 record. He is undefeated in his last seven outings, with impressive victories over former champ Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck.

But the 5-foot-9 Alves has never lost sight of why he moved to the U.S.

"I came here to make history," he says.

"I came to give a better life to my family in Brazil. You know, I came here to make history and not just for me, but for my teammates, for everybody.

"So, you know, that's what keeps me going. That's what motivates me every day. I want to be the best, not just for me, but for a lot of reasons."

Alves -- who as a young boy dreamed of being a K-1 kickboxing champ -- admits St. Pierre is the biggest challenge he's faced in his MMA career.

'DANGEROUS EVERYWHERE'

"Well, that's the thing, GSP is dangerous everywhere," says Alves. "You know you got to be careful with him everywhere and not just with the takedowns. Takedowns are just one weapon. He's a dangerous striker and he's got great jiu-jitsu."

St. Pierre also trains with members of Canada's national wrestling team -- something Alves is prepared for.

"I've been training with the best wrestlers here in the country, you know, and I've been training with the best strikers -- not in the country, but in the world. So I'm prepared for everything that he's got."

JOSE.RODRIGUEZ@SUNMEDIA.CA


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