Former Bellator MMA and UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez has not competed in well over a year. Thanks to injury and the coronavirus pandemic, the 37-year old from Philly is, in fact, just two-fights into his ONE Championship tenure. Both came in 2019.
“Of course it’s been frustrating. This game’s about momentum. Building momentum, creating momentum,” Alvarez (30-7, 1NC) noted during a video call Wednesday, attended by Cageside Press and other media outlets.
Alvarez, who was bounced from ONE’s lightweight grand prix then returned as a replacement fighter, had to withdraw from the finals in the end. “It was unfortunate. I would have liked to compete in the finals,” admitted Alvarez. “Twisted my ankle up a little bit, and I had to stay out.” Then came COVID, and as Alvarez noted, those situations were “none that were within our control. I believe that if they were, we would have controlled them.”
After fighting since age 19, however, “if I get a few months, or even a year, where a promoter doesn’t call me for a fight, I apologize, but I’m not the saddest guy in the world,” added Alvarez, who stated he was planning to reinvent himself yet again. “It’s a long road for me, and I’ve reinvented myself over and over and over. This is just going to be a small road for me to reinvent myself again. It will start with Iuri, and it will end with Christian, or whoever has that world title around their waist.”
Currently, that’s Christian Lee. But Lee has a date with Timofey Nastyukhin in April. That’s a name Alvarez is well-acquainted with. Nastyukhin served up a nasty knockout in the former UFC champ’s promotional debut in March 2019.
Regardless, Alvarez is looking forward, and looking to stay busy after his time off. “In a perfect world I fight three times this year. Pretty much back-to-back. Take a small little break, let the body heal, and then get another one in.”
April, July, and before Christmas for the final fight is “the ideal situation” Alvarez believes. And he’s not too worried about who he fights. “I never ever pick my opponents,” he stated, putting his faith in ONE execs Chatri Sityodtong and Matt Hume. “I’m sure they’re going to put someone in front of me that, we’re going to put on a show.”
It doesn’t matter who is opponent is anyway, Alvarez continued. “I’m going to go out there, try to be as violent as possible, [keep up] a high pace, put something on that fans will love and that I’ll be happy with.”
It will all start with Iuri Lapicus. Alvarez vs. Lapicus will be a big part of ONE on TNT 1 this coming April. The event airs live on TNT on April 7.