Why Andrei Arlovski fights on and on and on

May 13, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) celebrates after defeating Philipe Lins (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Andrei Arlovski started fighting professionally on April 9, 1999; he lost, to Datsik. Just 18 months later, after three wins in three fights, he successfully debuted in the UFC. At UFC 51, on February 5, 2005, Arlovski ankle locked Tim Sylvia in 47 seconds to become interim heavyweight champ. Sylvia won the rematch at UFC 59 on April 15, 2006, and Arlovski has fought on and on since.

In 2016-2017, he lost five in a row, only to bounce back with two wins, and then lost four in a row (although one was changed to a No Contest when his opponent tested positive for a PED). It looked like his fighting career was at an end. However, Arlovski bounced back with a win over Ben Rothwell at UFC on ESPN 4 on July 20, 2019. “The Pitbull” fought again less than four months later, and lost to Jairzinho Rozenstruik in 29 seconds. But he’s now on a two-fight win streak heading into a fight vs. Tom Aspinall on the main card of Saturday’s UFC Vegas 19.

At the event media day, Arlovski explained why he’s still fighting on at 42, after half a lifetime in the cage.

“I want to fight as long as possible and of course I want to be a champion,” said Arlovski. “That is why I’m doing what I’m doing right now. In the past, the main problem for me was sticking with the game plan. Over last two fights, I stick to the game plan and I trust my coaches 100 percent. Like Nike, just do it.”

Aspinall is 15 years younger than the former champ, but Arlovski says drinking young blood is one reason for his longevity.

“Young blood keeps you alive,” said Arlovski. “It’s keep you on your tippy-toes. Deep inside you know he’s young, he might be stronger, faster, but for me, age is just a number. . . At age 42 I’m still super hungry, in a good way. For glory, for money, for titles, for everything. I just became a more responsible person. Responsible father, husband, fighter. At age 42, I do more work than when I was 25.”

“Definitely I don’t want to be a punching bag for some other fighters who’s gonna make some name, records off of me. I have two kids, come on. I’m a smart guy. I want to be old, I want to see my grandsons and smoke cigars and drink some wine in my backyard.”

h/t Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting

Join the discussion on this topic...