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Eddie Alvarez rejects notion that UFC has all the best fighters: ‘That whole theory is crap’

“The best fighters in the world, they’re all over and they’re virtually unknown.”

UFC Fight Night: Ultimate Media Day Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

One of the most common assumptions in the MMA sphere is that only the UFC houses the best talent in the world.

Fighters like Daniel Cormier, Luke Rockhold, Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone were all considered lesser fighters when they competed under the Strikeforce and WEC banners but, after signing with the UFC, proved themselves to be world class athletes.

Still, despite this notion being provably false, it’s assumed that those who compete in other MMA promotions are not quite ‘UFC-caliber’ fighters.

One fighter who has issue with this sentiment is multi-promotion champ and former UFC lightweight titleholder Eddie Alvarez, who now competes under the ONE FC banner.

Speaking to MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin in a recent interview, ‘The Underground King’ stated his case for why many of the best fighters in the world are ‘virtually unknown’.

“That whole theory is crap that everybody who’s the best is a UFC guy,” Alvarez said. “It’s complete crap because I was the guy who didn’t fight in the UFC. I went there and won the belt. I beat arguably the best lightweight in that history. [Rafael dos Anjos] at the time was killing everyone. Like literally murdering the who’s who. So to go to the UFC, win the belt and be a guy from the outside that never fought there, I’m the guy you’re talking about.

“I wasn’t a UFC fighter per se but I went there and I won the world title. If I could do it, isn’t it true that anybody from the outside could possibly go there and win the title? It’s not arguable. It’s fact. The best fighters in the world, they’re all over and they’re virtually unknown.”

Alvarez went as far as to state that ONE Championship — not the UFC — possesses the best strikers in the world.

“As a fight fan myself, it’s clear that the level of striking is easily in the favor of ONE Championship. That can’t even be argued,” Alvarez said. “When you watch ONE Championship, and when you watch what goes on in the Muay Thai bouts and even the MMA bouts, the striking is vastly better in ONE Championship.”

Alvarez lost in his ONE FC debut to Timofey Nastyukhin via first-round TKO, but rebounded with a submission win over Eduard Folayang at ONE Championship: Dawn of Heroes. The 35-year-old will face Saygid “Dagi” Arslanaliev in the Singapore-based promotion’s lightweight grand prix finale on October 13 at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.

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