Mixed martial artists come from every corner of the globe, bearing a variety of styles. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring disciplines prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best mixed martial artist of all-time from each of the 50 states. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.
Only one mixed martial artist has captured titles in both the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA: Eddie Alvarez.
Already one of the greatest lightweights of all-time, Alvarez laid claim to a handful of regional titles, advanced to the semifinals of the 2008 Dream lightweight grand prix and won 15 of his first 17 professional fights before arriving in Bellator in April 2009 -- a run that included victories over Aaron Riley, Joachim Hansen and Tatsuya Kawajiri. The Philadelphia native went 9-1 in Bellator, twice capturing gold at 155 pounds while besting the likes of Pat Curran, Shinya Aoki, Patricky Freire, Michael Chandler and Roger Huerta.
Alvarez, 33, made the move to the UFC in 2014 and lost his promotional debut to Donald Cerrone before rattling off back-to-back victories over Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis. He then challenged Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight championship at UFC Fight Night 90 and stopped the favored Brazilian with punches 3:49 into the first round. Alvarez surrendered the title to Conor McGregor at UFC 205 on Nov. 12, and though his reign at the top was short-lived, he remains one of the sport’s best at 155 pounds.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Paul Felder, Phil Davis, Brian Stann, Josh Koscheck, Zach Makovsky