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Alberto Mina weighs in on long layoff and ‘xenophobic’ Brazilian media ahead of UFC 224

UFC Fight Night 90 Photos
Alberto Mina hasn't fought since a 2016 win over Mike Pyle.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Alberto Mina stopped Mike Pyle in devastating fashion the last time he stepped inside the Octagon, but that was back in July 2016. Now, almost two years later, the Brazilian welterweight will finally compete again in the UFC, facing Ramazan Emeev at UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 12.

Mina turned 36 earlier this month, and expects some changes in his body because his “metabolism is not the same.” He paid more attention to diet and conditioning, too, but doesn’t expect any less from himself because of his age and the long layoff.

”Regarding my low frequency of fights over the past few years,” Mina told MMA Fighting, “I don’t think that will affect my performance because I never lose touch with coaches and never stop training, even when I’m injured. I’m from a previous generation of fighters, but I’m always recycling and learning new things. The long layoff between fights doesn’t concern me in terms of performance.”

With a perfect 14-0 record in MMA — he claims one bout isn’t listed on his official record — Mina laments the fact that the UFC missed an opportunity of promoting him better after his vicious flying knee knockout over a popular name like Pyle.

”My last opponent was a former WEC champion and had a big reputation in the UFC. The fight ended in a positive way for me, but unfortunately the UFC wasn’t able to use that momentum and put me against a good name in the top 10,” Mina said. “I think about every fight individually now. I don’t understand the rankings as something unanimous. It’s partial, so I have to focus about my fight only. Let’s take care of this fight now and then we talk about rankings. Rankings, belts, title shots, those are things that don’t follow a logical sequence so I can’t worry about that.”

Primarily a grappler, Mina scored two of his three UFC victories by knockout. Working with striking coach Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA, he feels he has impressed and entertained the audience with his UFC wins.

Again mentioning his age, Mina looks at the bright side of being more experienced, but being inactive for so long doesn’t help his career in other aspects of the game.

”Physiologically, it gets a little complicated, but my head is more open, I’m smarter. I don’t see age as an issue,” Mina said. “Maybe I could have done more over the past few years, but I don’t see it as an important factor in my fights. What comes next depends a lot on the UFC and media, if they will wake up or not. Many people open their mouths and gets a title shot quicker. If the media and the UFC are waiting for me to talk crap and challenge someone, forget about it because it won’t happen. I will continue doing my job, fight my fights and help people the way I can.

”I’ve seen people put their careers at risk and fighting with their bodies worn out, injured, and recognition never comes. A pat on the back for taking a fight on short notice and that’s it,” he continued. “If you’re a professional, you can’t have that ‘anyone, anywhere, any time’ mentality. This is a sport that demands a lot from the athlete. I have to be 100 percent focused and healthy to enter a fight. If I don’t have the support and media for that, that’s another debate, but frequency of fights doesn’t affect my performance. One or two fights a year and I will continue doing this for as long as I can, bringing pride to the few ones that understand me and understand the path I’m going.”

Speaking of media, Mina is clearly unhappy with the way Brazilian news outlets have treated him and other MMA athletes. Now, fighting in Brazil for the first time in more than a decade, Mina hopes that competing in front of them makes a difference going forward.

”Unfortunately, media as a whole does two things. One, what echoes from the UFC, the commentators, and what they say isn’t always is what the fight actually was, but that becomes the absolute truth. And two, I see the media as being too partial,” Mina said. “We have so many talents… not saying myself only, but our media unfortunately chooses one or two and puts them way up, and that’s bad for them as well. We have so many examples of soccer players that broke through too early in their careers and didn’t manage their careers so well, and it’s no different with fighters.

”Brazilian media is regionalized, xenophobic. Not playing the victim card because I don’t need that. I left Brazil 12 years ago, but it’s hard to get this far almost impeccably, going though difficulties, long breaks, and still deal with this elitist media that conveniently elects who they want. It really bums me out, not being motivated to bring my camp to Brazil and invest in the sport at this level. That’s why I focus on the kids. It’s hard to have support and recognition in Brazil.”

At UFC 224, Mina hopes his 15th victory brings some of those changes.