ONE Championship’s Eddie Alvarez Talks “Cruel Joke” of UFC Philly

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The UFC is finally going back to Philadelphia — just months after former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez made the move to ONE Championship.

Los Angeles, CA — Eddie Alvarez, if you somehow missed it, is a proud Philadelphia native. The ‘Underground King’ has represented the city in two promotions in which he has reached the pinnacle of the sport, Bellator and the UFC. Now, he heads to a third, ONE Championship, with a shot at being the first man to claim the lightweight championship in all three.

Yet it’s his old home, the UFC, going to his home town of Philadelphia for the first time in years. Alvarez spoke to Cageside Press about that and more at ONE Championship’s open workouts in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Asked how he stays motivated after all these years, while once again heading into a new promotion, Alvarez told us that “the key word is love. I’m passionate about my sport, I’m passionate about what I do. I’m not in a race with anyone. I’ve always had on blinders, and had my own path that I wanted to create, and my own way to grow.”

The blinders being on, he elaborated, means that “I didn’t look at the guy to the left, or look at the guy to the right, and say ‘I want what he has’ or ‘I want to do what he’s doing.’ I just did things my own way.”

And each and every time out, “if I joined an organization, I wanted to be the best in that organization. One by one I’ve done that. And now that we’re at ONE Championship, I have every intention of doing it again.”

Yet while Eddie Alvarez is looking forward, to his debut in Tokyo for ONE at A New Era, and the promotion’s lightweight grand prix, it’s hard to ignore the past. Especially when the UFC is in Philly just next month. The day before Alvarez makes his debut in ONE.

“I texted Dana and I said ‘really, man?'” exclaimed Alvarez. “Five years I wanted that to happen. I even held the title, and they could have easily brought the fights there, when I was holding the title. Would have had a sold out arena. Yea, it was a cruel joke. I’m not happy about it.”

The stars didn’t align for an Alvarez fight in Philadelphia. However, “what’s even better, where I made my name, where I made a name for myself and I came over to America and was able to compete because of it was in Japan, was in Tokyo.” Which is where he’ll be at the end of March, when he makes his debut for ONE.  “Now we’ve come full circle and we’re going back there to compete for the Japanese audience.”

Oh, that text to Dana? Alvarez did get a reply. He said ‘Hey we really wanted you, we tried our best,’ and whatnot. “We have a fine relationship, it’s a business relationship,” ‘The Underground King’ added. “Cruel joke, but no big deal, no sweat off my back.”

Eddie Alvarez makes his ONE Championship debut at A New Era in Tokyo, Japan on March 31. That fight, against Timofey Nastyukhin, is part of the promotion’s lightweight grand prix.

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