Eddie Alvarez admits he’s not that familiar with his new colleagues in the ONE Championship lightweight division. However, he expects that to change in short order.
Alvarez (29-6) signed with ONE Championship this week after an eight-fight UFC stint that included a reign as the organization’s 155-pound title holder. He said he made the move because ONE Championship is one of the few notable organizations where he hasn’t held a belt, and he’s determined to do so.
For Alvarez, 34, joining ONE Championship isn’t about specific matchups; it’s about getting the strap. He said he doesn’t know long it will be before he receives a title shot, but he’s willing to go through the whole division to get there. He might not know exactly who that entails, but he plans to do some thorough research.
“I’m not entirely familiar (with the ONE Championship lightweight division),” Alvarez told reporters, including MMAjunkie, on a recent media call. “When I’m on Twitter, they put a pullout of possible opponents to fight, and that was kind of the first time I understood who the top contenders there are.
“I study my opponents. Some of them I’m sure I’m going to find out their pets’ names within the next month or so. I kind of do a deep dive into understanding who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are. I’ll know who’s who and what’s what very soon.”
Alvarez, who is a former UFC and Bellator champ, said he intends on getting to work in short order with his ONE Championship debut expected for early 2019. Martin Nguyen (11-3) currently holds the belt in his weight class, but Alvarez said he’s not concerned about the name, but rather what’s in his possession.
Although the ONE Championship lightweight division isn’t anywhere near as deep as what the UFC provided, there are some compelling matchups for Alvarez, such as a trilogy bout against Shinya Aoki (42-8).
Alvarez didn’t dismiss the idea of fighting Aoki again but admitted a third encounter with the Japanese submission specialist doesn’t take precedent over getting the belt. Alvarez wants nothing more than that but said the road to getting there is up to the ONE Championship brass.
“My only agenda in ONE is to prove myself against the top lightweights they have,” Alvarez said. “I’m really up for anything. I’m not making the decisions here. I’ll take each opponent one by one. Whether it’s Aoki or whoever the other guys are, the opponent right now is not really my concern. I’m going to get a fight date together, we’re going to think about a fight date and what is going to suit us perfectly to be able to make that adjustment, and we’re going to get a guy in front of us, no matter who it is.
“If you guys look at my resume, I probably haven’t taken an easy fight in – I can’t think of the last time I had an easy fight. I don’t imagine getting an easy fight. I’m going to go over there, I’m going to compete at high pace and whoever is in front of me, that’s what they’re going to receive.”
For more on the ONE Championship schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Eddie Alvarez plans to scout ONE Championship lightweights, 'find out their pets' names'