Ever since suffering his first career defeat in May of 2016, when he was knocked out by Cody Garbrandt, Thomas Almeida still hasn’t managed to string a winning streak together. While he came back from the setback by knocking out Albert Morales six months later, “Thominhas” suffered yet another defeat last July, getting outpointed by Jimmie Rivera. That last loss, though, was more a result of struggles outside the cage, according to Almeida.
“I couldn’t do my best in the fight in July”, Almeida told AG. Fight. “I’m not making excuses, but I got hurt the last week of camp, so I couldn’t do everything I had trained […]. Thinking back now, maybe it would’ve been better not to have stepped into the Octagon. But this is a very delicate situation – you have all the preparation you’ve done, you want to stay active. If I had won I wouldn’t be saying that.”
Next up is a chance to rehabilitate himself by defeating Rob Font on the main card of UFC 220 this Saturday, going up against a hometown favorite in Boston, Massachusetts.
“It sure excites you more, yes”, Almeida said of the chance to fight on Pay per View. “It’s a great opportunity to fight on a numbered card that has two belts at stake. I’m very happy and motivated for this chance. It does make a difference, the eyes of the world are all geared towards a big event like this.”
During the six months since “Thominhas” last stepped into the Octagon, a lot has changed in the bantamweight division. The most obvious shift has been that T.J. Dillashaw regained his belt from Cody Garbrandt. That exemplifies why Almeida believes that any fighter near the top has a shot at becoming champion if given the chance.
“This is one of the most contested divisions in the UFC, so it’s hard to say who’ll be the next to fight for the belt. It’s hard to say who’s getting Dillashaw’s belt. I think everyone there has a chance to be a champion. We have Raphael Assuncao and Marlon [Moraes] who are doing very well.”
Almeida recently opted for a temporary change in scenery to put himself in position to fight for the belt sooner rather than later, as well. After spending a few weeks sharpening his tools in Thailand, “Thominhas” wants to go back to the motherland of thaiboxing soon – and take the entire Chute Boxe team with him.
“The experience was very good, it’s a wonderful place and I want to go back there”, Almeida said. “It was a great learning experience, and maybe next time I’ll take my whole team with me. It’s a very beautiful place where you can have a vacation and train at the same time. I certainly intend to return.”
A professional MMA fighter since 2011, Almeida came to the UFC labeled one of Brazil’s best prospects. At the age of 26, the Thai boxer sports a record of 21 victories and two defeats.