Sam Alvey came into the UFC in 2014 as a relative unknown. After four fights, and three consecutive stoppage wins, however, UFC fans are getting pretty familiar with the smiling red head and his impressive skills.
The support is welcomed by the fighter, who next competes Saturday against fellow top prospect Derek Brunson in Nashville, but he isn't surprised by it. "I feel it, but I don't think it is affecting me because I've been here so many times," he told Thomas Gerbasi.
"I always enter an organization and nobody knows a thing about me, and I leave the organization and people love me. And I'm not planning on leaving this organization anytime soon, but I do feel as if people are starting to realize I'm not just a goofy, smiley kid."
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Indeed, "Smile'N" Sam is nasty in the cage, but he does have a lot to be happy for these days. The young husband and father is enjoying life as a professional athlete.
"I absolutely am," he admitted.
"I get to spend more time with my family now between fights than ever before. I get to go to Disneyland like six times a year since I've been in the UFC (laughs), and I've enjoyed it. I've enjoyed the freedom it has given me outside of fighting and I get to train harder than I ever have before, too, because of it."
Alvey has had success thus far against veterans of the reality fighting series "The Ultimate Fighter". He'd hoped to get paired up with TUF Nations winner Elias Theodorou, next, as the two have had a war of words through interviews of late. However, the 29-year-old is still thrilled to be fighting a streaking fighter like Brunson.
"I was a little disappointed in that I want to beat my TUF guys. Elias Theodorou is going to happen and I'm not giving up on that. That's a fight that will be entertaining, and people would love to see it," he said.
"But, I'm happy with this. After this fight, people are really going to know who I am. Brunson is a superstar and he's obviously going to be a top-10 contender soon. Hopefully, I'm going to slow him down a little bit, and I'm feeling good about it."
At the end of the day, Alvey plans to keep training hard, keep smiling, and keep living his dream. And, if he does all that, he has confidence that he'll be ready for any challenge.
"We'll see who comes down the road," he said.
"But I'm ready for anyone and I want to fight everyone."