Only one left for Alvarez to clinch historic treble

Eddie Alvarez (top) last fought in July against fellow American Dustin Poirier during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Saddledome. He lost via TKO but has since signed with One Championship this week and is looking forward to his debut.
Eddie Alvarez (top) last fought in July against fellow American Dustin Poirier during UFC Fight Night at Scotiabank Saddledome. He lost via TKO but has since signed with One Championship this week and is looking forward to his debut.PHOTO: REUTERS

American MMA fighter swops UFC for One C'ship, confident of winning lightweight title

Eddie Alvarez is nicknamed The Underground King but the American wants to stand on top of the mixed martial arts world by becoming the first person to win titles in three different promotions.

In a conference call yesterday, the 34-year-old, who has won titles with Bellator and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and signed with One Championship this week, said: "I have a chance at making history. Possibly history that could never be made again. So to be able to go to every major organisation, fight their best guys and then beat them all one by one and win that world title, means the world to me."

Alvarez (29-6) joined American MMA promotion Bellator in 2009 and became its first lightweight champion that year by defeating Toby Imada. He retained his title in 2011 with a victory over Pat Curran via unanimous decision.

Greener pastures beckoned when the UFC announced Alvarez as its signing in 2014.

Two years later, he claimed the UFC lightweight championship with a technical knockout (TKO) win over Rafael dos Anjos despite being the clear underdog.

However, later that year, he was similarly outstruck and lost his title to Conor McGregor, currently the biggest name in the sport.

Alvarez's last bout was a TKO defeat by Dustin Poirier in July, his last UFC event before his contract ended and his second loss in his last three fights.

READY FOR BATTLE

This idea of flying to Singapore, joining this whole new experience, it's just going to bring nerves about like I was young again. I look forward to feeling that way.

EDDIE ALVAREZ, on how he is not afraid of coming out of his comfort zone as he seeks to win titles in all three different MMA promotions.

While his One debut has yet to be confirmed, he dismissed the notion that he is over the hill by saying he prefers to "feel comfortable with the uncomfortable".

"This idea of flying to Singapore, joining this whole new experience, it's just going to bring nerves about like I was young again. I look forward to feeling that way," the 1.75m, 70kg fighter said.

"If I were to retire and there was an organisation out there that was the best in the world and I wasn't able (to fight there), people would come to me and they would go, 'Yeah, but he didn't win the One world title'.

"That would bug me. I'm going to save myself that bother and fly to Asia and take on the best lightweights there and win that world title."

 
 

Elsewhere in One Championship, it is Singapore's Angela Lee who gets the first bite at creating history at One: Heart of the Lion on Nov 9 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

In the main event, the 22-year-old, born in Vancouver to a Chinese Singaporean father and a Korean mother, is aiming to become its first two-division women's champion when the atomweight (up to 52kg) title holder takes on China's Xiong Jingnan for the strawweight (up to 57kg) belt.

Lee said: "Now I am ready for a new challenge, and entering the strawweight division has lit a fire underneath me. Prepare to see a more focused, faster, and stronger Angela Lee."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2018, with the headline 'Only one left for Alvarez to clinch historic treble'. Print Edition | Subscribe