Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez was a guest on Fight Corner Radio recently, and they conducted a pretty extensive interview with him. Alvarez is coming off a five round decision win over Pat Curran at Bellator 39, and his next opponent will be decided in two days at Bellator 44 when Patricky Friere meets Michael Chandler in the tournament final. This interview touches mostly on stuff outside the realm of Bellator. It leads off with how Eddie would fare as a professional boxer, and he was surprisingly frank with his thoughts (transcribed by fiveknuckles):
"I don't think I'd do well," Alvarez said. "Just because in boxing it would be hard for me to make 147. And I know boxers here in Philly at that weight and I spar with them, and I get my (expletive) whooped. They're not no world champions either, but these guys are seriously good. It would be really tough for me. I'd have to develop a whole different style of boxing to be successful.
"Actually Bernard (Hopkins) thinks that I would become a world champion; he said it out of his own mouth that he's never seen an MMA fighter box the way that I box. And I felt good about him saying that, but in the back of my head I'm thinking to myself, 'Nah.' Maybe I'm not as confident in myself as some other people are, but I'm not looking to go into pro boxing any time soon."
In MMA though, Eddie is very sure of his striking ability:
"I definitely, 100-percent feel that I have the best hands in the lightweight division," Alvarez said. "If I watch Melvin Guillard, I definitely see a lot of holes. He's quick, he's explosive, but he gets a little wild."
"But, when I look out there at the whole spectrum of lightweights, I gotta be honest, I think I have the best boxing in the lightweight division. I think whoever ranked Gilbert Melendez as having the best hands in MMA has got to be on acid or out of their mind."
He talks a little about MTV2 and his two possible future opponents:
"On MTV 2 it's going to give us the exposure that we need," Alvarez said. "We're going to get out to millions. [My exposure] will increase, it won't be to the level that the UFC could give me right now, but it will give me mainstream exposure to the everyday fan, and it's only going to continue.
"The way things are going with MTV2, they're doing great and I'm happy they are. One of the main reasons I signed with the company is to help build a company and to be somebody on the forefront of a big MMA company. They're producing good talent. You got Patricky (Freire) and (Michael) Chandler in the finals, and regardless of them being unranked or unknown, they're dangerous fighters and they can definitely compete with some of the better fighters out there. So regardless what the fans think, they are acquiring talent that can do damage."
This little tidbit was interesting as well:
The 27-year-old just automatically re-upped with the young organization after winning its lightweight tournament last season and is under contract with them for 3 more fights.
After discussing the merits of popularity vs. skill in MMA for a while, he goes onto talk about current training partner and UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Would he fight his teammate? Yes.
"No problem at all," Alvarez said. "Me and Frankie already talked about this. He knows the game. We're not selling insurance here we have to fight sometimes. So me and Frankie talked about it and if things come down to it and we have to fight each other we will. Right now, I'm with Bellator for the time being and I have a future with Bellator and there's no conflict of interest. He's trying to be number one in his organization, I want to be number one in my organization and right now we're helping each other.
"If it comes down to that and we have to stop helping each other for a little bit and fight each other, it wouldn't be too big of a deal. It's not something I'd look forward to, but sometimes if the fans push hard enough and the people with the money push hard enough, and it means me and Frankie can support our families, then we'll fight each other. Nobody's going to die. We'll both wake up the next day."
And finally, he talks about the much-discussed fight with Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. He says Gil called him out on Inside MMA first, and once he heard about it he sent out a press release to try and get the fight going, but Scott Coker got in the way.
"If you ask me my opinion I think Gilbert's a lot more confidence in his abilities than his promoter did. When I asked Scott personally about it he feed me a bunch of B.S."
"But there's no bad blood. Gilbert actually came to me and said, 'Look I shouldn't have said anything unless I knew I could get the fight.' And he said the only reason he wanted to fight me is because he thought I was good and whatever. There's no bad blood. It don't matter to me. To be honest, I don't want guys to call me out to fight me, I want people to run from me. So when someone personally calls you out, it's hard not to take it personal because they're basically saying, 'I can beat you.' If I tell a guy I want to fight him, it's because I think I can beat him. It's not because I think I'm going to lose to him."
It seems that Alvarez will be continue on in Bellator for the time being, but you get the impression from the overall interview that Eddie knows he will be in the UFC one day. Can he compete at the top of the ladder in the UFC? Or with Gilbert Melendez?