Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez has competed with various promotions in the span of almost two decades as a professional mixed martial artist, gathering multiple accolades along the way.
Last October 2018, ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong introduced him and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson to the promotion.
Alvarez (29-6-1), the former Bellator and UFC Lightweight World Champion, is happy with his decision to move.
“In America especially, the UFC in particular, I think there’s more condoning and pushing of fighters talking disrespectful to each other, more selling of a fight,” Alvarez told the Japan Times.
“The fans themselves, they don’t understand the sport enough to be emotionally invested in it. They need a story, they need s—- talk, they need that in order to watch the fight and pay for the fight.
“Whereas I think in ONE Championship, and the Asian culture in general, martial arts is deep-rooted enough where all they need is a fight. For me, that’s a breath of fresh air.”
Not only does the environment encourage “The Underground King” to be himself in every bout, but ONE Championship also boasts of a full roster of world-class champions who can test his skills in every way.
“There are amazing lightweights here,” he said.
“The ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix is stacked with super talented guys,” said Alvarez.
“There’s a difference between guys who are popular and guys who are good at fighting. In America, it’s hard to distinguish for fans who is popular vs. who is good at fighting.”
Alvarez competed for Japan’s promotion Dream back in 2008. Now he is excited to return to where he made a name for himself as a fighter, hoping that the crowd will share his same energy and enthusiasm when he makes his ONE debut at ONE: A NEW ERA.
“I know what I’m coming with, I know what I’m bringing here, and I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the fans matching it,” said Alvarez.
In the quarter-finals of the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix on 31 March, Timofey Nastyukhin would be the first to challenge Alvarez in a tournament that leads to a World Title shot.
Alvarez offers his first take on Nastyukhin.
“He has very strong punches, good hands,” Alvarez concluded. “I don’t think he’s as well-rounded as I am, but I’m expecting a very tough opponent.”