Former Bellator and UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez is back in action on April 7 with ONE Championship. Recently it was announced that ‘The Underground King; would face Iuri Lapicus on a card headlined by a flyweight championship fight between Adriano Moraes and Demetrious Johnson.
Alvarez recently spoke to Morning Kombat about a whole host of things. Eventually he got onto the subject of the UFC most recent lightweight champion: Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Even though it seems Nurmagomedov is done with competing in MMA (despite Dana White’s best efforts), Alvarez cast his hat into the ring as someone who would ‘make sense’ for ‘The Eagle’ to fight next (if he returns).
“I’m his only matchup that would make any sense, or give him a terrible time,” Alvarez said (ht MiddleEasy) before likening himself to one of the men Nurmagomedov beat during his 29-0 career.
“There’s one guy that gave him a terrible time in the whole division, and this is just the truth. (Gleison) Tibau gave him a terrible time because Tibau was not overly great at anything. Neither am I. I’m not overly great at anything. You say ‘What is Eddie great at?’ I’m not great at anything. I’m not a great striker, I’m not a great wrestler or great jiu-jitsu guy.”
Alvarez would get around to saying what he thought he was actually great at: “I’m athletic, I have a strong spirit, a strong heart, and I will fight, I’ll fight to the death.”
Alvarez also said that he thought Tibau fought with a ‘solid gameplan’ when he took on Nurmagomedov. “He was able to match Khabib’s strengths, he was able to throw good, straight shots, and he was able to negate a lot of Khabib’s wrestling.
“That’s what I’m able to do against virtually every opponent I’ve fought. Styles make matchups, and anybody who’s in this sport at a high level knows that. I just think that matchup in general would have been something special.”
Tibau fought Nurmagomedov at UFC 148 in 2012. That was the Dagestani’s second fight in the UFC. Tibau was a 16-fight UFC veteran at this point. Nurmagomedov won a unanimous decision over the Brazilian, but only after struggling to get a hold of Tibau and failing to take him down.
After a long and successful career in Bellator, Alvarez made the jump to the UFC in 2014. His first fight was a split decision loss to Donald Cerrone. He then went on a three fight winning streak that included victories over Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis, and culminated in a UFC lightweight title victory against Rafael dos Anjos.
Alvarez lost the title in his first defence, to Conor McGregor at UFC 205 in 2016. In his next fight he fought to a no contest with Dustin Poirier. After KOing Justin Gaethje he had a rematch with Poirier, which he lost via TKO. That would fight, in the summer of 2018, would be his last with the UFC.
Alvarez then signed for ONE. For his debut he went up to welterweight to fight Timofey Nastyukhin. He lost that pout by first round TKO. He has since rebounded with a submission win over Eduard Folayang, which happened in August 2019.