Though far from the only “Pitbull” in MMA, a few years ago Thiago Alves embodied the ferocious canine’s personality perhaps more than any other fighter he shared the nickname with. Now, with decision losses in his three of his last four fights and zero finishes since mid-2008, fans feeling as though the 27-year old has traded in his froth and fangs for a less-aggressive approach to competition may not be too far off in their assumptions.

Alves recently spoke to Tatame where he addressed his recent run in the Octagon and since reverting back to the same mindset he used to fight with.

“I used to fight with nothing to lose. I had no worries whatsoever, I just fought to have fun, but when you reach a certain level you have to worry more, you start focusing on your future and forget about the present,” Alves explained. “But it’s all learning. I have really high expectations, I want to be one of the biggest champions and I have to go through all of this to learn and mature. I have no excuses, no I have to work hard and go for it.”

It’s an attitude that has the American Top Team product aiming to avoid judges’ scorecards from here on out, an understandable approach considering his loss to Rick Story at UFC 130.

“I’ve learned a lot from my last fight. I’ll never let it go to the judges ever again. It took me a long time to start fighting, but I’ve learned what I had to learn, I’ve seen it all. Now I only have to trust my talent and on my team and go for it. I’ll try to knock (Papy Abedi) out or submit all opponents from now on. I’ll be aggressive again.”

In Abedi, Alves is referring to his next opponent – an undefeated Swede who should be more than happy to engage the former title-contender given his past performances including seven stoppages in eight total wins.

“He’s a left-handed and he used to fight at middleweight division, I think it’ll be his first fight on this division, so I’ll have an advantage on that matter. He seemed to be a good striker, but not that good. He’s a Judo guy, and he has never fought a top guy. I’m not underestimating him, I’m preparing myself as if I had a title fight.”

Alves will face Abedi at UFC 138 in Birmingham, England on a card headlined by Mark Munoz vs. Chris Leben. He holds an overall record of 18-8 with TKOs of Karo Parisyan and Matt Hughes, as well as a dominating decision win over Josh Koscheck at UFC 90.