GDANSK, Poland – Sam Alvey wants to book a dream fight with Brazilian legend Vitor Belfort next year, but he’ll have to complete a weight cut of more than 34 pounds to get there.
Alvey (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC) takes on fellow middleweight Ramazan Emeev (15-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 118, which takes place ar Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, and streams on UFC Fight Pass. Alvey looks to round off his year with a win and convince the UFC to grant his wish to face former UFC light heavyweight champion Belfort (26-13 MMA, 15-10 UFC) in the new year.
But with the call coming just 10 days ahead of the contest, and with Alvey not in optimal fight shape, the California native has in effect accepted two fights this week, as he faces a battle with the scale, and then the bout itself against Emeev.
Alvey was looking to squeeze in one more fight before the end of 2017, and he was hoping he might be the ideal man to step in should anything happen to either Anderson Silva or Kelvin Gastelum ahead of their UFC Fight Night 122 main event clash in Shanghai later this year.
“We’ve been bugging them for a fight,” he admitted. “We wanted to fight again this year, just like everyone on the UFC roster. We were told it’s probably not going to happen.
“I started running because I was anticipating Anderson Silva or Gastelum getting injured. ‘Sign me up. I’m there!’ So I was kinda training for that one, just in case.”
That fight didn’t materialize, and instead Alvey was offered an altogether different kind of test, against a dangerous Russian with an underrated record – on just 10 days’ notice.
Alvey’s face told the story when he explained how he was “right on the borderline” of whether he could get enough weight off in time to make the 186-pound middleweight limit for Saturday’s matchup.
But despite admitting he faces a serious weight-cut between now and official weigh-ins, he’s taking everything in stride with that familiar smile on his face.
“We’re going to make the biggest weight cut of my life, but we’re going to do it successfully,” he insisted, explaining that when he got the call to fight at middleweight he was “north of 220” pounds.
“As soon as camp (for his last fight) is over, I’m back, I’m lifting, I’m getting swole – and I’m eating,” he part-joked.
“It was a lot of fun making weight – so far!
“For me, it’s ‘say yes,’ and I’ll figure it out later. It’s always been the case, and my career’s been going real well so far.”
With Alvey accepting the fight – and the challenge of getting down to his contracted weight – he explained that he’d done some research on his opponent and discovered a man who, despite his lack of name recognition, held a fight record that demanded respect.
“I watched everything I could,” he said of Emeev, who holds a 15-3 record. “I know he’s a stud. He’s fought a lot of guys who are like 30-4 or 29-7 who have big winning records. So he’s no joke. I couldn’t take him lightly.
“I’ve got my idea of what I want to have happen, and I’m going to go out there and try to make it happen.”
And if Alvey is successful on Saturday night, he hopes 2018 will be the year he moves into contender status, though he concedes he’ll always be labeled a “fun fighter” by the fans.
“You know what? As long as the UFC likes me – the fans like me already – I’m going to be that fighter,” he said. “I’m going be that fighter that’s got the dynamite in (his) hands. I’m going to be that fighter that can even submit black belts if need be.
“It’s just a matter of time. The Vitor fight will be my real ticket to the top-10 starlight, and he wants the fight too, so we’ll make that fight happen.”
That potential clash with Belfort is something Alvey made clear he wants in his immediate future.
And the man known for his heavy hands and winning smile hopes to use victory on Saturday in Poland to state his case for a battle with Belfort.
“I said yes, and Vitor said yes. The UFC just had different plans for now,” he said. “But after I win this one at such short notice, I think the UFC owes me a little bit.
“And I’m going to demand it. I want Vitor. Give me Vitor!”