Brazilian MMA is far from what it once was as far as UFC titles are concerned. With only Amanda Nunes carrying gold for the nation atop the women’s bantamweight division as of now, Brazilians hope for a countryman in the men’s 135-pound class to one day bring another belt back home.
25-year old Thomas Almeida has lost to current champion Cody Garbrandt just last year, but the ninth-ranked bantamweight believes that if he were to fight “No Love” again, the result would be very different from the time he suffered his only professional loss.
“I’m willing [to fight him again],”, Almeida told AG. Fight. “He’s the champion, but that’s more for the future.”
After getting back into the winner’s circle with a knockout over Albert Morales last November, Almeida is set to fight fifth-ranked Jimmie Rivera next month at UFC on FOX 25. And that’s where his focus is at.
“My mind is on Jimmie, [the last] defeat has already passed and I’ve learned a lot from it, but the focus now is on another [fight]. Cody Garbrandt is the champion, I’m sure we’re still going to meet and it’s going to be a different result. I improved my style a lot and I learned a lot. [Garbrandt] is very complete. You have to use speed, move your legs more and not stand still. He is very dangerous, I can’t be a static target for him. He has good footwork and powerful hands.”
To achieve the goal of getting gold at bantamweight, “Thominhas” already has a plan: investing in his future in the sport, which is made possible by five 50,000 Dollar post-fight bonuses in his six UFC fights.
“My main focus is to invest in training, to invest in myself and in trips to better my training”, Almeida said. “[I want] to invest in anything related to my career, because my focus is to become the champion, and then to save some money for my future. The future of a fighter is very uncertain because we can’t work until the age of 60. You have to keep your head in place, but the focus is to invest in my future, to be champion […]. Everything that will support my evolution is important.”
Despite aiming to become the champion one day, Almeida wants to keep himself grounded and his focus on Jimmie Rivera. That’s why the 25-year-old Chute Boxe athlete has promised to leave any title talk for after the match.
“My goal now is to fight with Jimmie and to win. I’m sure I’m going up there [towards the title after a win] because he’s top five in the division. We’ll see what happens. I’m 100% [focused] for this fight and then we’ll see, but it will certainly be a big step forward.”