UFC heavyweight Andrei Arlovski picked up his 18th win in the promotion at UFC Jacksonville. The victory came against newcomer Philipe Lins — a highly touted fighter out of Brazil, who won the million dollar prize at heavyweight during the PFL’s inaugural season in 2018.
For some, it was a bit curious to have Arlovski welcome a newcomer at this point in his career. The Belarusian fighter is 41, and has competed professionally since 1999. Plus, as Arlovski pointed out, the pair had trained together.
Still, a win is a win. The victory puts Arlovski at 2-1 in his past three bouts. Another step in a lengthy, legendary career of the former UFC heavyweight champion.
Nor is he done yet. Speaking to Cageside Press during a virtual post-fight press scrum following UFC Jacksonville, Arlovski explained how he responded to those who would say, even with his well-being in mind, that it was time to slow down.
“No f*cking way” is the abrupt answer. “First of all, before I was so sensitive [toward those] who make those comments. You know, ‘Arlovski’s done,’ this and that. I reacted actually pretty bad.”
While he has a handle on that, his decision to walk away from MMA will be based on other factors. “Now, if inside something going to tell me to stop it, or knock on wood, my health not let me fight, I’m going to stop,” he said. “But now, I’m going to keep going. I want to keep fighting.”
To bolster his case, Arlovski dropped a couple of legendary names into the conversation. “I have a great example, Randy Couture in MMA. And George Foreman in boxing. F*ck no, I’m just beginning.”
Couture was 47 years old when he won his second to last UFC bout, and 48 when he finally retired. He was the oldest fighter in history to be UFC champion, at 45. Boxing champ Foreman, meanwhile, was just shy of 49 when he competed for the final time in 1997.
The key to his longevity, meanwhile, is simple. If you’re talking about his pretty face, Arlovski joked, that comes down to his wife and some miracle creams. When it comes to fighting, well, “I’m obsessed with fighting,” he said. Once, his jiu-jitsu coach told him that discipline is to remember you want. “Every f*cking morning when I wake up, I remember what I want, why I’m doing this. Simple.”
There are some big names atop the heavyweight division at the moment, and something of a log jam. Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier, Francis Ngannou. What’s going to happen remains to be seen, but who the best guy of the bunch is, Arlovski had his own opinion on.
“Best guy, me. I’m the best guy,” he proclaimed. “But I totally understand, there’s a lot of people in front of me. Other heavyweights in the line for title shot.”
Arlovksi feels he was close to a title shot when he fought Stipe Miocic, and again when he faced Ngannou. But he’s not making excuses now. “I lost the fight, it’s a fact. Like I said, I’m in the line.”