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UFC welterweight Thiago Alves becomes coach at American Top Team

UFC 210 photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Competing in the UFC since 2005, Thiago Alves is no longer a full-time MMA fighter.

With 22 appearances inside the Octagon, including a title bout with Georges St-Pierre at UFC 100, ”Pitbull” told MMA Fighting that he is now one of the coaches at American Top Team in Florida.

ATT co-founder Dan Lambert invited Alves to start as a coach after some changes in the team’s coaching staff, Alves said, and the 33-year-old Brazilian didn’t think twice.

“After my last fight (with Patrick Cote in April), Dan asked me is I wanted to start helping the new generation of ATT fighters, and I accepted it,” Alves said. “I live close to the gym and I’m here every day for 14 years, so it made sense.”

Alves is currently scheduled to meet Mike Perry at UFC Fight Night 116, which takes place Sept. 16 in Pittsburg, and will stay 100 percent focus on his upcoming bout. After that fight, "Pitbull" will once again pay attention to coaching young prospects as well.

“Since I’m teaching fighters now, you see the sport in a different way,” Alves said. “I study the techniques more, the things I have to teach them. It’s great for my career, my fight IQ is going way up. I see things that I didn’t pay attention before. It brings me a new energy and more responsibility because now I’m an example. The things I do in there will show my athletes that it works, that that’s the way you should fight."

Back to the welterweight division with a decision victory over Cote after a failed attempt to make 155 pounds, the longtime UFC veteran doesn’t see the sport with the same “romantic" eyes he used to — and that’s one important lesson for up and comers.

“I'm more realistic about the fight (game) now,” he said. “I don’t put too much emotion in the fight because emotions don’t belong there. You have to be cold. Not always the best man wins, but with the right strategy and determination it’s hard to lose. I’ve taken the emotion out of it.

“Unfortunately, MMA has broken my heart many, many times, so I have no feelings about MMA anymore. I’m a professional. I work hard to go in there and finish the fight."

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