Though he fights Dustin Poirier in Dallas on Saturday night at UFC 211, Eddie Alvarez will probably spend more time this week answering questions about Conor McGregor, the man who relieved him of the UFC lightweight title in brutal fashion last November, than about his upcoming opponent.
For a fighter trying to move on from defeat and focus on the future, the media can be a real pain.
However, these questions have to be asked. After all, they form a big part of the key story line heading into this fight. We all want to know if and how Alvarez has rebounded psychologically from that damaging defeat.
Luckily, the veteran is dealing with the already persistent inquiries rather well and seems to be at peace with the events of UFC 205.
Speaking to Luke Thomas on the journalist’s eponymous radio show recently, the Philadelphia did admit that it had taken him some time to move on, but added that he is back to enjoying his work.
“Climbing back from the Nov. 5th fight was difficult. I’d be lying if I told you, ‘Oh I just bounced right back off the mat.’ I needed some serious dusting off. I needed to forgive myself. I’m my own worst critic so I was very disappointed and pissed off at myself about Madison Square Garden,” Alvarez said.
“I sat around longer than what I would’ve like to. I would’ve like to just bounce back and just get over it already but it was difficult. It was difficult for me. I put a lot into this so it was difficult but we’re over it and I’m having a great time with training and enjoying myself(via MMAFighting).”
While he indicated that the recovery process has involved some analysis of the fight, Alvarez also said he has resisted over-analysis and refused to dwell too much on the painful past.
“I got punched pretty hard one minute into the fight. There is nothing to make sense of,” said Alvarez. “I think, a lot of people, fans and media, try to make sense of this whole thing. Like, ‘Let’s break it down’. There is nothing. It would be the same as…a guy is living a great life, he walks across the street and gets hit by a bus. Now, let’s make sense of that, let’s break that down. Why did he get hit by the bus? It’s foolish, he got hit by a bus. That’s it, it’s over.
“So, for me, it took some reconciling with myself and trying not to make it too difficult. Just saying, ‘Hey, you got hit with a punch and you made a lot mistakes after that and you paid for it.’ Bottom line. Don’t make it any more difficult or confuse it anymore than what it is.
“[My head coach Mark Henry and I] don’t really talk too much about the past. It’s pretty much over with. There isn’t too much more we can learn. Like I said, I’m super critical, so I’ve already dissected it a thousand times and figured out what I can do right, in changing form and changing some things. So, there is not much more to talk about. “
Alvarez was thoroughly dominated by McGregor, who consistently hurt him with left hands and dropped him on three separate occasions before the referee called a halt to the slaughter just after the three-minute mark of the second-round. So in control was the Irishman throughout, that he often showboated with his hands behind his back.
It must have been a humbling experience for the proud Alvarez, who in 13 years and 33 fights had never been outclassed in such a fashion.
However, one must look for a silver lining in these situations.
When asked by Thomas to identify the best thing that has come from his devastating loss to ‘The Notorious’ one, Alvarez gave an interesting response.
“I think there’s a freedom in having your worst nightmare come true,” said the 33-year-old. “As a fighter, your worst nightmare is to get knocked out in front of millions of people. That’s like the dream of waking up naked in your classroom. So getting that out of the way, there’s a freedom in it for me. I never thought it would happen. I never pictured it or visualized it ever happening to me and it happened. I realize after it happened, nothing changed. Nothing changed. My family’s still here, my friends are still here. I’m still the same person. Everybody just wants me to fight again and do well again. Nothing really changed. So there’s a freedom in it and if you haven’t experienced it then you won’t be able to feel the freedom that I have right now.”