Eddie Alvarez has signed with ONE Championship. On Thursday, the former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion confirmed he would remain in the lightweight division and pledged to make history by becoming the first man to win titles with the three biggest promotions on the planet.
“ONE Championship is the only major organization that I haven't held a world title in. I've won the Bellator title twice, I’ve won the UFC title during my career, and as far as I’m concerned, ONE is the only organization that I haven’t got to touch that title belt and I think for myself, for my fans, and everyone this would mean I have a chance at making history, possibly history that can never be made again,” Alvarez said during a conference call with MMAWeekly.com and other members of the media.
A few fighters have moved back and forth between Bellator and the UFC, but Alvarez is the only man to have ever won belts with both promotions. He’s perfectly positioned to add the ONE Championship title to his collection and thinks this is an achievement that might never be replicated.
“It would take a fighter 20 years in the fight game to fight for these orgs and it’s almost like a lottery ticket to win one title, so to go to all the organizations and beat those guys one by one to won the title, I’m excited about it.”
Alvarez confirmed he would be competing in ONE Championship’s lightweight division and plans to enter the cage at around 169 pounds. The promotion has introduced hydration tests to ensure that athletes can’t cut weight and the 34-year-old is relieved he won’t be spending his final hours before a fight in the sauna or on the treadmill.
"There’s not a healthy way to cut weight. The whole idea of it is unhealthy and if you have to compete within a 15-hour frame of being severely dehydrated, it’s a tough thing to do. I’m very excited about the idea of not making that weight cut and being able to compete at my walk-around weight."
He also warned that this could be bad news for any lightweight facing him in the ONE Championship cage.
"I guess it’s healthy for me, but I feel like it’s going to be dangerous for my opponents."
Alvarez also said that agreeing to fight for a promotion on the other side of the world had given him a new lease on life.
“This is a whole new experience and it makes me feel nervous like I was young again. I look forward to feeling that way. If I was to retire and there was an organization that was the best in the world and people came up to me and said, ‘but you didn’t win the ONE title,’ that would bug me. So I’m going to save myself the bother and fight in Asia, take on the best lightweights there, and win the world title.”
He was repeatedly asked about the prospect of fighting Shinya Aoki a third time. They currently share a stoppage win apiece. But Alvarez said he isn’t looking at any specific opponents and is confident that there are high caliber lightweights on the ONE roster, pointing out that no one knew who he was until he started fighting in Asia.
“I’ve never been one to pick opponents. When I come to Asia; whether it’s Tokyo, Singapore, or Hong Kong; I want to fight the best, no matter who that is,” he said.
Alvarez was asked about the possibility of competing at welterweight, but appeared to rule it out saying, "I’m gonna pass on that," although he did add the disclaimer of "but you never know."
He confirmed he would be in Singapore next month to attend ONE: Heart of the Lion. Alvarez doesn’t expect to fight again in 2018, but will definitely be back in action next year.
“I imagine early 2019 is when I’m going to debut. Now that the deal is done, I’ll be able to fly to Asia, meet the fans and then come back home and go full force. It’s gonna be incredible. You guys are in for a show if I don’t have to cut this weight.”