During a special public Q&A session with Dana White conducted this past Tuesday at the Sports USA Bar in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the UFC president confirmed that number one contender Thiago Alves will fight for the UFC welterweight title regardless of who wins the UFC 93 superfight between Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn.
White also expressed the possibility of Alves eventually moving to middleweight in the future. He hinted at the scenario of Alves competing at 185 in response to a question about whether B.J. Penn would ever move up to middleweight to challenge UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
While White shut the door on a move to middleweight by Penn, he discussed how Alves is big for a welterweight and that he happens to be one fighter competing at 170 that he believes could handle the transition to 185 pounds.
A move to middleweight doesn’t appear to be in the cards for Alves anytime soon with him locked in to face the winner of St. Pierre vs. Penn, however, White said that a move could be possible if he’s able to win his next few fights at welterweight.
Alves is 9-2 during his UFC career but has had trouble making weight at 170 in the past. His most notable failure when it came to making weight took place at UFC 85 this past June, where he TKO’d former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes in round 1.
The fight with Hughes was contested as a catchweight bout with Alves weighing in the day prior at 174 pounds. According to published reports, he was unable to make weight because he injured his ankle in the weeks leading up to the fight and had to reduce his cardio training.
Even in spite of the injury, Alves has not always had an easy time of making 170. In fact, he even received a ninth month suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission in December of 2006 after testing positive for a banned diuretic leading up to his UFC 66 victory over Tony DeSouza.