Following a last-minute loss to Martin Kampmann this past month at UFC on FX 2, onetime welterweight challenger Thiago Alves has let go of a cornerman whom he said gave him bad directions during the fight.
Alves takes some responsibility for a takedown attempt that led to him getting caught in a guillotine choke moments after stinging Kampmman with a big right hand.
But he said it's not the first time he's had troubles with the member of his team, who also acts as a jiu-jitsu coach.
"I didn't know how bad [Kampmann] was hurt," Alves told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
). "When you're fighting, you're in the zone. You just react to stuff, and my cornerman was like, 'Takedown, takedown, takedown.' I went for it and just made a mistake."
Kampmann (19-5 MMA, 10-4 UFC) went on to book a No. 1 contender's fight with Jake Ellenberger at The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale in June. Alves (19-9 MMA, 11-6 UFC), who lost a one-sided decision to now-injured welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre at UFC 100, goes back to the drawing board and awaits the announcement of his next bout.
Besides the ending, Alves said he proved himself the better fighter against Kampmann and would like a rematch. But he's also realistic about the unlikely odds of that happening so soon, and he said another opponent is already being lined up for his next fight.
Alves wanted to fight Diego Sanchez, who likely lost a No. 1 contender's slot himself with a decision loss to Ellenberger earlier this year. However, Sanchez is currently recovering from shoulder surgery. Alves declined to name the opponent under consideration, though Yoshihiro Akiyama is about the only UFC welterweight not booked for a fight.
When Alves gets back in training camp, he said he'll continue to work with the cornerman in his normal capacity. But Alves decided to cut fight-night ties when the cornerman lamented losing a betting wager on the Alves-Kampmann fight.
"At this level, we have to be very precise, and we have to work toward the win," he said. "Maybe he wanted me to finish the fight in a safe position. Maybe he wanted me to finish the fight on the ground so he could take credit for it. I don't know. But I'm a striker. That's what I do.
"I've got to trust the people outside the corner. That's what they're there for."
Alves said the loss has been a learning experience that he'll take on his road back to victory.
"You've got to try to find the positive inside of everything, even the bad moments of your life," he said. "I know I'm destined for greatness, and I know I'll be the champion one day.
"It's just preparing the path to be a little more sweet once I get it."