Former top-ranked bantamweight prospect Thomas Almeida hopes to return from a two-year layoff this spring at UFC 250 in his native Brazil.
Almeida began his MMA career 16-0 with 16 finishes and was the Legacy FC bantamweight champion when the UFC came calling in 2014. The Brazilian defeated Tim Gorman, Yves Jabouin, Brad Pickett and Anthony Birchak in his first four UFC fights, winning $50,000 bonuses in all four of those fights. At the time, Almeida was unstoppable and looked like he would be a future world champion.
In 2016, Almeida ran into fellow prospect Cody Garbrandt and was knocked out in devastating fashion for his first career defeat. He bounced back with another bonus-award winning performance against Albert Morales before losing back-to-back fights to Jimmie Rivera and Rob Font, and he hasn’t fought since January 2018 due to injuries.
Now, after two years away from the Octagon, Almeida is finally set to make his return to the Octagon. Speaking to Combate, Almeida confirmed he wants on the UFC 250 card featuring Henry Cejudo vs. Jose Aldo, which is set for May 9 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“I’m looking for a fight for now. I would love to make this return here in Sao Paulo. There is still a legal period for me to make the final adjustments, choose the opponent and even direct the camp. I am 100 percent recovered and ready to start all over again,” Almeida said.
Due to inactivity, Almeida was removed from the UFC bantamweight rankings, but before he went down with injury he was a top-15 ranked fighter. When he does return from the Octagon in May, look for Almeida to angle for a ranked opponent for his comeback fight, though the UFC may opt to rebuild the 28-year-old Brazilian slowly and give him a tune-up fight on home turf for his return bout.
Who would you like to see Thomas Almeida fight in his return to the UFC?