Dream chance for Alves

NEIL SPRINGER, SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 11:50 AM ET

LAS VEGAS -- Is it Thiago (Pit Bull) Alves' destiny to win the welterweight title at UFC 100?

He certainly thinks so.

As a teenager, the Brazlian fighter told himself he would be a world champion at the age of 25. This weekend he has a golden opportunity to fulfill that self-imposed prophecy when he steps into the octagon against champion Georges St-Pierre.

"Since I was 15, I knew at 25 that I was going to be a world champion and here I am at 25," Alves said during a media workout at the Mandalay Bay Event Center, the site for Saturday's big event. "I think if anybody can beat Georges St-Pierre, I'm the man to do it and I will knock him out. I have no doubt in my mind.

"I'm ready."

Though some fans are quick to dismiss him as a threat to the title, St-Pierre (18-2) has called Alves (16-3) the greatest test he's ever faced.

"He's the toughest guy that I've fought so far," St-Pierre said. "He's my biggest challenge, but I like challenges. That's why I do this sport. I want to be known as the best and to be the best you have to fight the best.

"He's a great striker and he's a big guy. He's very strong and explosive. He's got good takedown defense. He's very good at neutralizing people's strengths and fighting his fight, which is my strength as well."

Alves, who holds wins over top fighters like Josh Koscheck, Karo Parisyan and Matt Hughes, realized he wasn't going to achieve his dream if he stayed in Brazil.

When he arrived in the United States he had little money and didn't speak a word of English.

"It was really scary," Alves said. "I'm like a momma's boy. I've never been more than two weeks away from my family before I moved here. I got here with no English and $70 in my pocket."

The only person Alves knew in the U.S. was Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Marcos Da Matta, who he'd met on a couple of occasions in Brazil. At the time, Da Matta was helping start the American Top Team training camp.

Alves contacted him and secured the proper tutelage to continue his fighting career.

However, for him to reach that next level in the UFC, he had to ditch his partying lifestyle.

"I actually stopped partying like two years ago," Alves said. "I had a little bit of money and fame, but I just had look back to where I came from and I was like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa -- that's not what you came here for.'”

The wake-up call came as a result of two separate incidents.

The first was his loss to Jon Fitch. The second was his eight-month suspension for testing positive for a diuretic following his win over Tony DeSouza at UFC 66.

"It really hit me when I had the suspension because I was here and I couldn't go back to Brazil because I was having issues with my visa and trying to get my green card," Alves said. "I was here and I couldn't do anything for eight months. I could have just trained, but when you just train and don't have a fight or a goal, what's the point?"

Left with eight months off and nothing to do, Alves dedicated himself to what he does best, aside from fighting.

"I just partied," Alves said. "I had a little bit of money and I had eight months. Usually to get ready for a fight, it takes three months. So I had like five months and I was like, 'Man. All right, let's have a little fun.'

"When it got time for me to get serious, I got really serious. Every day I remember the feeling I had when I lost to Jon Fitch. I just put everything together -- what I want from me and what I want to accomplish."

With his mind now focused solely on fighting, Alves said he is ready to fulfill his destiny.

"I get to fight (St-Pierre) and get my belt at the same time -- that's awesome," Alves said. "It's my belt, but he has it. I mean, it's his belt, but I'm going to take it away from him. No disrespect at all, I'm a big fan of GSP. I respect all my opponents, but right now it's business.

"Everybody has weaknesses. I just think that it's my time. He's a great striker, great wrestler and great jiu jitsu guy, but so were the other guys that I fought. There's no way that another guy with two arms and two legs is going to beat me."


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