Shortly after stopping Rafael dos Anjos to claim the lightweight title earlier this year, Eddie Alvarez called out Conor McGregor, claiming that he was looking for his first “gimme fight” in the Octagon.
Several months later, Alvarez’s view on his UFC 205 adversary hasn’t changed. The veteran of 32 fights and multiple promotions believes the brash Irishman is more hype than substance.
“He’s fought a bunch of chumps. If I had the resume he had, if they gave me that resume, if I was that lucky to get them opponents, the same s—t would happen, if not worse,” Alvarez said during a media call on Thursday. “When you pick the style you want to fight, that’s s—t. You get mismatches, you can knock everyone out. I can go to the supermarket right now and punch a guy in the mouth and look like a super hero. When you fight the best guys in the world, it’s gonna be tough. The fights are gonna be tough. S—t’s gonna change. You’re not gonna look as good.”
Alvarez knows all too well that not every fight paints a pretty picture. After dropping his Octagon debut to Donald Cerrone at UFC 178, the Philadelphia native battled to consecutive split-decision triumphs over Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis. It wasn’t until he faced dos Anjos that he put together a signature performance, taking out the Brazilian via technical knockout in the first round.
“They put me against every single killer in the division. I didn’t know why. I thought it was because I was coming in as a foreign champion from a foreign promotion,” Alvarez said. “I felt like they put me against murderer’s row. I survived, and I won the world title. I thought that this style matchup was a good style matchup for me. I thought it’d be a lot easier of a fight than what they’d been feeding me. On top of that, financially it happened to be the best decision. It was killing two birds with one stone. An easier fight scheduled as well as making more money. It was a no brainer on my end.”
Alvarez was particularly unimpressed by McGregor’s efforts against Nate Diaz: The SBG Ireland representative was submitted in the second round by Diaz at UFC 196 before winning a majority decision in the rematch at UFC 202. Both bouts were contested at 170 pounds.
“These are subpar guys. ….everybody in the lightweight division has beat Nate, and he had trouble doing that,” Alvarez said. “The guys he’s faced are nothing of the caliber I am. He will see [he’s] been going up against shitty opponents that were good style matchups, and I’m not.
“That’s the reality he’s gonna deal with. He’s trying to convince himself that he’s going to do something he knows he can’t.”
While Alvarez expects a breather against McGregor, he doesn’t plan on handpicking opponents after UFC 205. If he emerges with the belt on Nov. 12, he’ll says rankings are likely to determine future fights.
“I will go down as the best lightweight in UFC history. It’ll start with [McGregor], but then I’ll make UFC great again and continue to fight the No. 1 guys who belong here,” he said. “I sincerely feel and felt I deserved a break. This will be my break, and then we’ll get back to some real s—t.”