At the UFC 205 press conference in late September, Eddie Alvarez seemed to deal with the jeering of both Conor McGregor and his raucous faithful with an amused calm. But over the course of the last week, the defending UFC lightweight champion seemed rattled by the Irish army and their vocal general on a number of occasions.
Jonathan Dunne made a similar suggestion in an article published by Pundit Arena earlier today. Dunne’s piece mainly contrasted Alvarez’s prior nonchalance with his animated performance at Thursday’s final presser. However, Alvarez’s interview with Joe Rogan on stage at last night’s ceremonial weigh-in also suggested that the Philadelphia native’s mindset had been negatively affected by the circus that surrounded him throughout the week.
Alvarez waved his finger at the crowd, as Rogan stood holding the microphone, and finished his brief speech with a frustrated “goddamn all you mother…” after his initial, more measured words were drowned out by boos.
However, in an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto shorty after he exited the cauldron that was the Madison Square Garden Arena, Alvarez claimed that he enjoyed the week and it’s festivities immensely.
“I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that I’m truly enjoying myself,” said Alvarez. “I don’t care about whether a fan cheers for me or boos for me. I want the fans to feel something. Regardless of if it’s for me, for Conor, for whoever, these fans are feeling something and that’s what this sport is all about. I truly enjoyed today and all week to be honest with you.”
Though he has enjoyed being a part of what Okamoto said is being labelled the ‘Conor McGregor show’, Alvarez was adamant that he would be bringing that show to a close on Saturday night.
“It’s over. I apologise in advance but it’s over,” said Alvarez. “We just wanted him to sign. He signed. It’s over,” added the 155-pound king, who also suggested that McGregor could “go back to gimme fights” after UFC 205.
At the aforementioned ceremonial weigh-in on Friday night, Alvarez and McGregor stared each other down from uncomfortably close quarters, as UFC president Dana White trusted his fighters (kind of) not to lash out at each other just hours before their mammoth super-fight. Alvarez said that he assured both White and McGregor that he wasn’t about to do anything stupid, whilst also issuing a warning to his opponent.
“I said I’m not going to touch him right now but tomorrow night we are going to touch him a whole lot,” Alvarez said with wry smile.
You can check out our preview of UFC 205 on the latest edition of The Fighting Irish podcast…