Former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez has been vocal about his disagreement with Khabib Nurmagomedov’s title coronation at UFC 223 in Brooklyn early this month. “The Underground King” specifically questioned how Khabib was declared the champion by defeating number 11-ranked Al Iaquinta.
During Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, Alvarez once again belittled Khabib’s recent accomplishment, which he feels devalues the title itself.
“If the Philadelphia Eagles show up for the Super Bowl, and New England can’t make it, you don’t bring in the third-place team to play for the Lombardi Trophy,” Alvarez said (via MMA Fighting). “You have to wait and you have to be patient. You can’t tell the No. three, four, five guys ‘you get a title shot.’”
“It just got silly real fast. Everything got silly real fast, and it made the belt quite meaningless.”
Furthermore, Alvarez believes that the UFC is trying hard to capitalize on Khabib’s title reign to allow a smooth transition into its Russian fan base.
“You know what no one’s talking about? Khabib talked about fake champions, fake belts., fake this, fake that, and everything is fake, fake, fake. No one said that they were just begging to give him that belt because they had Russia behind him,” Alvarez said. “Russia is going to be an open market soon, and it’s convenient Khabib has the belt.”
“Now the guy who says ‘fake champion, fake belt, fake this,’ he has the title now,” he added. “They should have just handed it to him, the be honest with you. That’s what it looks like.”
Iaquinta ended up being Khabib’s opponent after a total of three opponent changes during fight week. The undefeated Dagestani ended up winning a dominant decision win and further improved his record to 26-0 (with 16 wins via stoppage).