Eddie Alvarez is now the UFC Lightweight Champion after taking out Rafael dos Anjos on Thursday night. With the win, he’s beaten the reigning champion, the previous UFC Lightweight Champion, and the final Strikeforce Lightweight Champion in his last three fights, and has vaulted himself into the top spot.
That’s a great run of victories for any fighter, and at the UFC Fight Night 90 post-fight press conference Alvarez called for a bit of a respite for his first title defense.
“For me, I think, by far, the best lightweight in this division is Rafael dos Anjos. I had the better night tonight, for sure, but this could go either way,” Alvarez said (transcribed by MMAJunkie.com). “There are great competitors and there’s a real small margin for error. If you mess up once, it could have been me on the other end of that punch.
“This guy (dos Anjos) to the right of me, is the best in the division. To be able to come out with a win over him and before him was [Anthony] Pettis, before him was Gilbert [Melendez]. These are the best guys in the division. I’m not taking on top 15 guys. I would ask Dana White please to give me an easier fight like Conor McGregor. I deserve that. I’ve been fighting the best guys. I would like a gimme fight. So, Conor? I more than welcome that.”
Alvarez’s path to the title was a long one, and he reflected on the years-long journey that finally culminated in Thursday’s title win.
“This has always been like a marathon for me, not a sprint,” Alvarez said. “Everybody was always asking, ‘When are you going to go to the UFC?’ and telling me what I should do and when I should do it. I just think, if you work hard enough and love something, these belts are a byproduct of it. This will not be here forever, but just working hard and doing something you’re passionate about is important. Right now, we have the belt and I’m the champion. I told a lot of people I would be. I’m happy.”
Penick’s Analysis: The UFC was going to give Alvarez a title fight with Benson Henderson back in 2013 before Bellator held him up in court. For him to return to Bellator, avenge his loss to Michael Chandler, then enter the UFC as champion, lose his debut, and still wind up where we’re at is a bit of a crazy story. As to his next fight, a bout with Conor McGregor would be fantastic, and is actually a more intriguing style matchup than McGregor-RDA would have been. I doubt it’d be the “gimme fight” that Alvarez thinks it would be, but they can get to that point after McGregor handles business. For now, the UFC can figure out which of the possibly deserving lightweights should get the first crack at the new champion.
[Photo (c) Mark J. Rebilas via USA Today Sports]
Attention iPhone/iPad and Android users, if you’ve enjoyed our app in the past and followed us there, or if you’ve never checked it out, make sure to update to the latest version in the Apple store and/or Google Play store. We’ve launched a new look for the app, in line with our recent desktop overhaul. Make sure to check it out!
For current App users, swipe right to view next article, swipe left to view previous article.