BARUERI, Brazil -- Alan Patrick was a poor shoeshine boy when Ronaldo Souza decided to move him from Amazonas to Rio de Janeiro to work on his fighting skills. It paid off, as the undefeated lightweight scored a first-round TKO over Garett Whiteley in his Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 29.
"From the streets to the world," an emotional Patrick celebrated while talking to the media after his win on Wednesday. "I lived in the streets in Brasilia after I was born in Sao Paulo. Then I moved to Amazonas, Fortaleza, Florianopolis, United States. I returned to Amazonas again and finally came to Rio de Janeiro. ‘Jacare’ wanted me to be part of his team, X-Gym, and I’m very happy now to be in the biggest MMA promotion in the world."
A former Bitetti Combat lightweight champion, Patrick made quick work of Whiteley in Barueri, and his mentor "Jacare" Souza was his inspiration.
"I’m always ready to go 15 minutes, but I don’t lose opportunities," he said. "Maybe he thought I was going to take him down and grapple, but I also work my hands a lot. I did like Jacare did to (Yushin) Okami. Boom! I landed that hand and he was rocked. When I saw he went down, I ran like a hungry dog going after food."
"I go toe to toe with ‘Jacare,’ Paulo Thiago, Erick Silva, Marcelo Guimaraes," he continued. "No one in my division can give me more trouble than these guys from my team. I’ve trained a lot to do this."
At 11-0 in MMA, Patrick won’t be an easy guy to beat in the UFC after all the troubles he has faced outside the cage.
"I lived in the streets, I was hungry," he said. "It’s do or die for me to get a better life. The only way I would leave the cage would be with a win. He could rip my arm off, but I wouldn’t tap. I would keep fighting until I get the win."