In a fascinating interview with the Irish MMA podcast Talking Brawls, Eddie Alvarez has exuded supreme confidence in his ability to be able to handle anything that Conor McGregor throws at him in their upcoming bout.
The highlight, of course, was towards the end of the interview when he was quizzed on why he has said that up until now McGregor’s opponents have allowed him to look good. Alvarez pointed out that the only one who offered a threat of taking him down was Chad Mendes and that he had a lot of success despite only being given two weeks’ notice.
Throughout Alvarez is quite cool and not reluctant at all to praise the Dubliner for what he does well. He even acknowledges that McGregor is one of the UFC’s most humorous characters:
“I can tell you first-hand that Conor McGregor and the things he says are actually funny and I have no problem laughing at them. I’m not going to get angry. Funny is funny.”
He also says that ‘his offence is good’ but sounds genuinely exasperated at the adulation he receives when he adds:
“His defence is atrocious… he doesn’t move his head. His best attribute is his reactionary time. A guy like me, I can go wherever. I can kick, I can punch, I can f**king submit and I can do it all f**king night.”
This dismay at what he calls the ‘WWE fans’ that bombard McGregor with never-ending praise and hyperbole has been a catalyst in stirring Alvarez’s desire to fight the Crumlin man as he recalls how after huge wins in his own career the topic would invariably turn to McGregor.
After the host, Niall McGrath, asks him ‘was your eye always on McGregor?’ Alvarez responds with:
“Yeah, yeah. I mean Conor was a target. The reason that Conor is a target is that every time I beat someone, like a fighter like a Rafael dos Anjos or a Gilbert Melendez, who is actually a legend in this sport and is proven over years to be the best, I get asked about Conor McGregor and it’s kinda annoying so after a while I started being honest with people and telling them what I think.
“So that’s how this fight has come about. And I was being honest with the media saying that I’ve literally fought the best guys in the world back-to-back, and I could use a fight that’s better for me stylistically. And I’m saying that being completely honest with myself and the fans.”
Alvarez credits his assured demeanour with him not only being in a good place as a fighter at the moment but also as a person who has learned from mistakes in the past.
“The good thing is that I became champion at a time where I’ve learned all of these lessons already so I don’t need to learn on the fly. I don’t need to make the mistakes because I’ve already made them… so I’m mature not only in my career where I’m a champion but I’m mature mentally and emotionally as well.”
He feels and, it must be admitted, sounds like someone who is extremely content as well as confident. This should allow him to not be fazed by the circus element of being involved in the main event of a McGregor show in the way that it seemed to affect José Aldo.
He addresses this element of the fight build-up with the reasonable take that, “when you bring anger and all these emotions to a press conference… I think it’s not who you are… I just think being myself up there is the most important.”
Overall, the interview is an intriguing insight into what appears to be an extremely well-rounded opponent for McGregor both inside and outside the octagon.
Vincent Whelan, Pundit Arena