Having won world titles in practically every organisation for which he has competed, Eddie Alvarez intends to take his first step towards the ONE Championship title this weekend.
Former UFC & Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez turned some heads last October when it was revealed that he had opted to ink a deal with Asian promotion ONE Championship. Alvarez was joined in his new digs by Sage Northcutt and Demetrious Johnson — the latter of which part of the first ‘trade’ in MMA history which saw Ben Askren move in the opposite direction.
Alvarez faces Timofey Nastyukhin in the first round of the promotion’s Lightweight Grand Prix this weekend, though some of the focus has been on his former foe Shinya Aoki who competes on the same roster. Aoki and Alvarez have squared off twice before with their series currently tied at one win apiece.
While a trilogy bout between the two is undoubtedly among the best fights that ONE can book right about now, Alvarez says that he is not looking past the tournament in which he competes in a few days’ time.
“I’m super focused on the Grand Prix. I have no concerns about Shinya Aoki; he doesn’t even hold the belt,” Alvarez said via Body Lock MMA.
“I’m not being disrespectful, a lot of people ask me about Shinya, but he’s not even the belt holder. My concern is the guy in front of me, Timofey [Nastyukhin], I’d be disrespecting him if I thought about anyone else, but if I have my eyes on anything, it’s this shiny thing up here. I don’t really see a guy in front of it. I just want that world title. It’s the only one I don’t have. That’s all I’ve got my eyes on.”
Alvarez, now 35, is likely entering the final phase of his MMA career with this latest contract and while one more world title is definitely the primary objective, one can’t help but imagine that a third bout with Japanese submission ace Aoki has been talked about by the organisation’s matchmakers.