Unbeaten in 13 MMA bouts and holding wins over popular fighters like Pyle and Yoshihiro Akiyama during his 3-0 run in the UFC, “Soldier of God" is disappointed that his career hasn’t changed the way he expected after stopping someone like Pyle in such devastating fashion in July 2016.
Mina lived in Hong Kong for almost five years, and decided to move to California in order to stay closer to the UFC and promote himself a little better. Training with Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA for a while now, he just wasn’t offered a fight for months.
"For some reason, I don’t know what, the fights never came,” Mina told MMA Fighting. "I had no manager at the time, so I got a new one, Kamir Safdari, and we tried getting fights. There aren’t many undefeated fighters in the UFC, and I’m 3-0 already in the UFC."
The Brazilian welterweight suffered an injury in training earlier this year, but never informed the UFC. He didn’t want that to become another reason why he wouldn’t get offered a fight.
Mina says that the UFC reached out to him a few months ago, offering a welterweight clash with Sultan Aliev for UFC Pittsburgh in September, and he took it. The bout was never officially announced by the UFC, and it quickly fell through after Aliev pulled out with an injury and Mina wasn’t given a new opponent.
"I was hurt, so at that moment I thought it was okay for me to accept that fight,” Mina said of Aliev. "He doesn’t have a big name, but I’d continue undefeated and get back against a bigger name next. I expected a top 15 after Pyle, which unfortunately didn’t happen."
With zero fights in over a year, Mina, who has two bouts left on his contract with the UFC, started to invest in other areas, opening Crossfit gyms in Brazil. What he really wants is to compete inside the Octagon, though, and wonders why the promotion isn’t offering him any fights.
"There’s no reason why I couldn’t be fighting right now, but I don’t know what’s happening,” he said. "Maybe I should start calling people out, I don’t know. I’m not a big talker, but maybe that’s what they are waiting from me."
Mina believes he won’t face a top 15 next due to his long layoff after beating Pyle. If it was up to him, though, he would take on one of the dangerous and popular strikers in the welterweight division.
"I’m 35 years old and I don’t have time for two title runs, so I have to make it happen now,” he said. "I’m undefeated and I have a lot of knockouts. I want big names, guys like Carlos Condit or Thiago Alves, guys I look up to since before I joined the UFC. I’m ready for anyone. I want a good striker that would put on a good brawl."
The undefeated welterweight is so anxious to compete that he’s considering taking fights up to 205 pounds at the UFC Sao Paulo event in Brazil on Oct. 28.
"I’ll be in Sao Paulo for the UFC, and I told (UFC executive) ’Minotauro’ (Nogueira) that if someone gets injured and they need a middleweight or a light heavyweight, I’ll step up,” said Mina, who currently weights 198 pounds. "He laughed, but I’m serious."