“When I look back on my career and I told people going into this fight, whenever I get a guy that everyone is high up about, that he’s really dangerous, that he’s killing opponents, I usually knock those guys out. It has nothing to do with me being good or me having a certain technique, I get scared. I literary get afraid to the point where my body reacts in ways that it just makes for phenomenal performances… So in the past, I always wanted guys that are super dangerous because my body responds in ways that surprise myself. And I’ve always done that especially against southpaws. Every southpaw I ever fought mostly, I think were my most vicious knockouts of my career, so dos Anjos was that guy. That’s why I said he probably shouldn’t be real violent with me the way he was with Pettis and these other guys because I respond differently when people attack me like that, and I think it’s because I’m a little afraid to be honest with you… People say in this sport and look at it as a sign of weakness like, ‘oh, fighters shouldn’t be afraid’ but I have a line that says, ‘be afraid, be very afraid,’ because that fear throughout my whole career has gotten me my most vicious knockouts I’ve ever had. When I had them nerves, and I turned them into ‘I’m okay with being afraid.’ I can embrace it as long as I make the walk and I show up to compete. Being afraid is perfectly normal. So I think against guys like that, when guys that are super dangerous I respond differently.”
-In an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Eddie Alvarez explains why fear drove his UFC Title winning effort against Rafael dos Anjos.
Penick’s Analysis: This is another take on something similar I was talking about and writing about into the fight. I didn’t think Alvarez was going to pull off the win, but I noted on numerous occasions how he’s always seemed to step up for his best performances against fighters who pressure him and present the most risk. Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez, and Donald Cerrone didn’t hit that mark for his previous UFC fights, but he got hit early by dos Anjos and turned things up to another level to come back to take that title. It was a massively impressive victory, and if that’s what happens in his mind it makes sense.
[Photo (c) Bob DeChiara via USA Today Sports]
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