Eventually, it becomes the natural question for someone nicknamed “Smile'N.” We can’t just let a happy guy be; we have to wonder when was the last time he wasn’t smiling. It stumped Sam Alvey for a moment, but eventually he broke down with the truth of the matter.
“Somebody asked me that and I couldn’t really think of anything, so I spent some time thinking about it, and the last time I think I wasn’t a happy guy was after the series Dragonball Z ended and Dragonball GT came out,” he deadpanned. “Dragonball GT was terrible. I watched every episode and it was hard to do, and throughout that entire series I was not smiling.”
“That’s the best I can come up with. It made me not smile.”
Needless to say, it’s good to be “Smile'N” Sam these days. Winner of three straight in the Octagon, with that trio of victories coming by knockout, Alvey has not only performed when his name was called, but his pre and post fight-interviews and affable personality have made him a fan favorite. This emergence may have surprised some, but not the 29-year-old Wisconsin native.
“I feel it,” he said of the fan support, “but I don’t think it’s affecting me because I’ve been here so many times. 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.”
And while the smile is ever-present, it’s also real, because in the midst of a tough business, Alvey is finding time to embrace everything his success in the UFC is bringing him.
“I absolutely am,” he said. “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’s given me outside of fighting and I get to train harder than I ever have before too because of it.”
If anything, the only thing that may turn Alvey’s smile to a grin is the fact that despite his desire to take out his fellow Ultimate Fighter peers at 185 pounds one by one, that streak will end at three because he’s battling Derek Brunson Saturday night in Nashville. It is a quest he plans on resuming post-Brunson though, and he’s already got his sights set on his next foe.
“I was a little disappointed in that I want to beat my TUF guys,” he said of the matchup with Brunson. “(TUF Nations winner) 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. But I’m happy with this. After this fight, people are really gonna know who I am. Brunson is a superstar and he’s obviously going to be a top ten contender soon. Hopefully, I’m gonna slow him down a little bit, and I’m feeling good about it.”
Alvey’s current path does bring up an interesting point when it comes to matchmaking though, at least from a fighter’s point of view. A three-fight winning streak is an important thing to have in your back pocket, and if you make it four, the stakes are even higher. So at that point, does Alvey desire an opportunity to fight opponents higher up the 185-pound ladder or foes who will help him put on the most entertaining bout possible?
“I will be the UFC champion some day,” he said, “but I want to make a lot of fans along the way. And the way I’m going to do that is I’m going to fight a lot of people. I’m gonna be in the UFC for a long time, the rest of my career, so I don’t need to call out the number one contender right now. Right now, I want to call out people who I think will put on a great fight with me. Derek Brunson, I didn’t call him out, but he’s gonna put on a great fight with me; I’m gonna make sure of it. Elias Theodorou, he’s dodging me, but he will fight me someday and it’s going to be Fight of the Night. And we’ll see who comes down the road, but I’m ready for anyone and I want to fight everyone.”
Sounds like a man with a plan that appeals not only to him, but to those watching him. Maybe that’s why the fans love Alvey – not just because of his personality, but because it’s almost like he’s fighting for them. That’s not something new to him either.
“It’s always kind of been who I am,” Alvey said. “My parents raised me in a way where no matter what I did, I was gonna be the best at it. I could have been a garbage man and I would have been the best garbage man that’s ever been. I would have gotten the garbage on time and no one would have complained about me missing something. It’s just the way I was raised. I didn’t know, when I started my career in fighting, that it was going to be a career. When I started, I didn’t know the UFC was a thing. I just started because I could fight in a cage. So I fought in a cage and people liked the way I fought, and I was having a ton of fun with it, and slowly but surely, I found my way into the UFC and I’m going to continue doing what I’ve always done – I’m gonna fight to make people like to watch me fight.”
That’s something to smile about. Sam Alvey agrees.
“I thank the good Lord each and every day for what he’s blessed me with. It’s a good life.”