“Fans need to understand. They say, ‘Hey, you ducked a fight.’ Look at my (expletive) resume, bro. Compared to every lightweight in this division, go look at who I fought,” Alvarez said. “If you ever tell me I ducked someone, you don’t know (expletive) about fighting. You know nothing. Because there’s not a single guy in the lightweight division who has fought back to back to back champions, the baddest (expletives) in this sport ever. And if I’m mistaken, give me the resume. I want to see it.” – Eddie Alvarez
“Check the record, bud.” – Urijah Faber
Former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez was in quite a mood when he showed up backstage at UFC Fight Night 128. The “underground king” had strong words for everybody, from current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to former opponent Dustin Poirier to victorious contender Kevin Lee, and he spit hot fire in every direction as he held court for about 10 minutes with a group of reporters (watch it above).
Of particular interest was Alvarez’s response to claims that he’s ducking a rematch with Poirier. On one hand, Alvarez said, sure, there’s at least one situation under which he might avoid a fight with someone.
“I will take a better opportunity for myself,” Alvarez said. “If you’re not the guy and you’re not as good an opportunity as what I have available, then yeah, I’ll (expletive) duck you, and I’ll duck you, and I’ll take the opportunity that’s better than you. I’ve been guilty of that. But I’ve never ducked anyone.”
As proof of that claim, Alvarez pointed to his record. He offered to match his resume against anyone else’s in the lightweight division. Who else, he asked, has been out here fighting these hitters?
So fine, let’s take a look at Alvarez’s resume. Let’s start with his past 10 opponents, listed here from most to least recent:
1. Justin Gaethje (W)
2. Dustin Poirier (NC)
3. Conor McGregor (L)
4. Rafael dos Anjos (W)
5. Anthony Pettis (W)
6. Gilbert Melendez (W)
7. Donald Cerrone (L)
8. Michael Chandler (W)
9. Patricky Freire (W)
10. Shinya Aoki (W)
You know what you have there? You have three UFC champions, one Bellator champion, one Strikeforce champion, one DREAM and ONE FC champion, one WSOF champion, and a few all-around badasses.
Again, that’s not a cherry-picked list of the best people Alvarez has ever fought. That’s just the past 10. It’s simply chronological order.
Wanna go back further? Fine, then you get additional fights with Chandler and Aoki, both of whom were highly ranked lightweights when Alvarez met them. You also get guys like Tatsuya Kawajiri and Joachim Hansen, who were some of the best lightweights outside the UFC back when Alvarez was tearing it up in DREAM.
He fought his way to the finals of the DREAM lightweight grand prix. He won the first Bellator lightweight tournament. He took on Bellator in court (there’s one battle most fighters duck), and when he finally got to the UFC he got exactly zero easy fights.
Want to accuse someone of being scared to face a tough opponent? Eddie. Alvarez. Is. Not. The. One.
But still, didn’t he just admit to ducking the Poirier rematch? Yes he did. According to Alvarez, he ducked it to coach “The Ultimate Fighter” instead. And then to fight his opposing coach Gaethje at the end. As in, the same Gaethje who Poirier just beat for one of the biggest wins of his career.
If you think opting for a fight with a human woodchipper like Gaethje is anybody’s idea of an easy night of work, by all means, step in there yourself and find out. But for a prizefighter looking to maximize his exposure and his earning potential, it’s actually a strategy that makes a lot of sense.
Put it another way: If Alvarez’s resume to this point hasn’t convinced you that he likes to fight and isn’t scared of a tough night in the cage, what would it take? How would one more fight with Poirier prove something that the last 15 years haven’t?
While you’re puzzling over that question, you might as well go ahead and answer Alvarez’s other one: Who else has done it like him?
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