‘Smilen’ Sam Alvey isn’t a champ or even in the official top-15 of the UFC’s middleweight division. Yet he is unquestionably one of the most popular fighters in all of mixed martial arts.

On August 8, 2015, Alvey puts his three-fight winning streak on the line when he faces Derek Brunson at UFC Fight Night in Nashville. With his training camp in full swing, Alvey took some time to do 20 Questions with The MMA Corner on a wide range of subjects including how he bagged his wife – former America’s Next Top Model winner McKey Sullivan – along with his championship run in the Maximum Fighting Championship and his much-desired hair vs. hair fight with Elias Theodorou.

SZ: What was the last thing that took the smile off your face?
SA: It would be after I saw the second episode Dragon Ball GT. The first episode was terrible but after the second episode I was sure they were on the series.

SZ: What prompted the hair vs hair callout against Theodorou?
SA: Honestly it was a spur of the moment stipulation. I haven’t put any thought into it at all prior to getting that microphone center ring.”

SZ: How does a guy pick up a potential supermodel at a renaissance fair? (note: this is how Sam snared his future wife)
SA: I was at church every Sunday and said my prayers every day.”

SZ: Name a legendary fighter that you’d like to match up against?
SA: I would love to fight Vitor Belfort to get some retribution for Dan (teammate Dan Henderson).

SZ: How stern was the speech from the UFC in disciplining you for suntan-gate?
SA: They never yelled but they made it very clear to me that I was not ever do it again. Overall they were very cool about it even though I broke the contract pretty badly.

SZ: Who is the best dodgeball player in the Team Quest Temecula gym?
SA: Unfortunately it’s not me. The title of best would have to go to Jordan Wall.

SZ: Did you think in the dying seconds you could get the KO against Jason South? (note: Sam finished South at the 4:56 of Round 5 to claim the MFC middleweight title)
SA: Every second of every fight I’m trying to finish the fight and so it didn’t surprise me that I waited almost 25 minutes to finish that fight.”

SZ: Was your one-punch KO of Wes Swofford at MFC 40 your single best punch in MMA to date?
SA: Although it was a good punch I don’t know that he cleaned the title of best punch. I’ve got a few fights were only one punch was thrown and those fines were pretty cool, too.”

SZ: To what do you attribute your overall popularity to … why do fans take such a shine to Sam?
SA: I think it has more to do with my personality and look. My look and the way I act is different from 90% of the fighters in the world and I think people receive it as a breath of fresh air.”

SZ: Your entrance music has been ‘Hey Soul Sister’ by Train which is not exactly the standard type of song for an MMA fighter. What’s the reason behind that choice?
SA: I have no reason behind that choice. I just like it.”

SZ: Derek Brunson is next on your hit list. What is the recipe to beat him in your mind?
SA: Same plan I go into every fight with – hit him harder and more often then he hits me.”

SZ: Of your three wins to date in the UFC, what is your favorite one and why?
SA: My favorite victory so far is Cesar (KO at 3:34 of Round 1 vs. Cezar Ferreira at UFC Fight Night – Bigfoot vs. Mir). I was such a big underdog in the betting lines so I made my family and friends a lot of money.

SZ: You live close by a casino … you’ve got $1,000 bucks in your pocket … what do you play?
SA: I put the $1,000 on black and let it ride.”

SZ: We know the story of your wife being in your corner for all your fights. What’s the best piece of advice she’s given you mid-fight?
SA: Usually it’s the simple tips that help the most. Like keep your damn hands up.”

SZ: Picture the future … what is a 40-year-old Sam Alvey doing for a living and why?
SA: Forty-year-old Sam is still fighting the UFC and loving life.”

SZ: Was there a kid in the past who bugged you for being a ginger kid, and what would you do or say to him now?
SA: I can honestly say I’ve never been picked on for being a ginger that I remember anyways. Who would ever pick on a ginger kid any ways. We’re awesome in every way.

SZ: When you get past Brunson, who is next for a callout? (BTW, Theodorou is doing ‘Amazing Race Canada’)
SA: I’m still going to schedule a date with Theodorou.

SZ: Standard-issue question … You have three dinner guests of your choice. Who’s coming and why?
SA: I would have to say, Jesus Christ because He’s son of God, Andrew Jackson just because the stories of him make him seem fantastic, and Ronald Reagan, possibly our greatest President.

SZ: Dana handed you a $50,000 performance bonus … what was the first thing you bought and why?
SA: I bought season passes to Disneyland.”

SZ:Can Sam Alvey become a top-10 threat in the UFC’s middleweight division by the end of 2015?
SA: I’m sure he could but I don’t know that he will. I’ve spent a long time getting into the UFC and I am now going to spend a long time fighting everyone in the UFC.

About The Author

Scott Zerr
Staff Writer

Scott joins The MMA Corner having spent the last 14 years in mixed martial arts as Director of Media & Fighter Relations for the Maximum Fighting Championship. He will provide The MMA Corner with insight on breaking news in the sport, plus an insider's perspective on business developments, matchmaking, fighter signings, and much more. In addition to his longtime work in MMA, Scott was a sports reporter before moving into media relations and marketing. After growing up and working in Edmonton, Alberta, Scott has since moved to Bakersfield, California to be with his wife Christina (an avid fight fan, thank goodness) and kids.