“I feel like if this fight is signed and it happens, I feel like I’m about to tell the world there is no Santa Clause and everybody’s going to be disappointed.”
There is no doubting that Eddie Alvarez is, to borrow that old UFC slogan, as real as it gets. Nobody could claim that his road to the UFC lightweight title has been an easy one. By the time he arrived in the world’s premier MMA promotion he was already 30 years old with 28 professional outings on his record and a whole lot of miles on the clock – a tried, tested and true road warrior.
He had really earned that moniker the ‘Underground King’.
Upon his arrival to the big time, he jumped right in at the deep end. His promotional debut came against none other than Donald Cerrone and ended in defeat. Showing trademark resiliency, he bounced back with wins over Gilbert Melendez, in a fight that saw him come through serious adversity, and Anthony Pettis to put himself in line for a title shot.
Standing in his way however, was one of the sports most intimidating and terrifyingly in-form champions – Rafael dos Anjos. But in a brief yet brilliant fight, Alvarez shocked the world by stopping the teak tough Brazilian in the very first round to secure UFC gold.
Though the Philadelphia native’s next fight has not yet been confirmed, there have been murmurings that the UFC are interested in putting together a showdown between he and still-reigning featherweight champion Conor McGregor – a man whom Alvarez believes has arrived at his lofty position within the MMA world via a slightly less arduous route.
During a recent interview with Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting, the 32-year-old veteran indicated that he feels McGregor has built his reputation by somewhat fraudulent means. In fact, Alvarez believes this so wholeheartedly that he remains unconvinced the SBG product will step-up and take a fight with him.
“When I look at the history of the opponents that were picked[for McGregor], it’s not me,” said Alvarez. “I’m not a typical opponent that this man would pick.”
“I respect everybody who makes the walk to the octagon but where we differ is – I’m more about what’s real and he is more about perception. This game is changing, I’m watching it change. And because the business is coming before the sport now, the perception is becoming more important than what really is, and this is why I said that I don’t think they will take the fight.
“If the perception is most important, then you don’t try to beat the best guy in the world, you don’t go after me. You go after the guy who looks like the best guy in the world but really isn’t.”
Though Alvarez claimed that he respects McGregor, this respect was not evident throughout the rest of the interview, as he went on to state that the Irishman would represent a break in his gauntlet of elite opponents.
“In a sparring room, there is always a guy that we call ‘the rest round,” said Alvarez. “[McGregor] is the rest round.”
“He is the guy you grab when you are super tired and you say ‘Come on man, lets do a round’. To me, to the level of guys that I compete with, to the the level of guys that I’ve fought in my life, and the level of guys I train with every day. He comes to our gym and trains – he is the rest round. For everyone, not just me. For Frankie[Edgar], for Edson[Barboza], for Marlon[Moraes], for any one of us.”
McGregor has been hearing stuff like this for a long time now. It comes with the territory when you are the trash-talking cash-cow. But one might have assumed that his gritty and gutsy showing against Nate Diaz would convert many of the critics.
It probably has converted some, but Eddie Alvarez isn’t one of them.
“I was impressed by like about seven minutes of it – about the first seven minutes. Then it all looked really sloppy and didn’t look of championship calibre. It didn’t look like a guy who spent $300,000 on a training camp. I could have done that shit for like $5.”
Despite the spirit that McGregor showed beyond that early period of dominance, when things got much tougher in the face of Diaz’s heartbreaking pressure, despite the fact that the Dubliner rallied to take the fourth session following a dicey third, Alvarez feels that he would be able to impose his will on ‘The Notorious’ one in those latter stages.
“Past the eight minute mark, I don’t see anything but being dominant,” he said. “I think he can do well because it’s easy to be technical in the first round or two, but when the shit hits the fan and it turns into a fight – I will fucking dominate this guy every step of the way. When he is a little bit tired and he has to dig down – it’s over. It’s all over.”
“There is no Santa Clause – he don’t exist. It was a lie and I’m going to steal the magic from everyone. The magic is going to be gone. And I can’t wait. It’s going to be a great time for me.”
You can watch the entire hour long interview, which is epic by the way, below…