After a year’s worth of back-and-forth, bluster, and accusations of lies, Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez have finally signed to meet in what is going to be one of the UFC’s most hotly anticipated rematches in quite some time.
While Poirier had his fun taking jabs at Alvarez along the way, he understands that with the two set to tangle at UFC on FOX 30 in Calgary on July 28, things are about to get serious. And he’s not about to take Alvarez lightly.
“He’s a dangerous guy when the odds are against him,” Poirier said recently on The MMA Hour. “When you hurt Eddie, that’s when he’s most dangerous.”
That might sound like the sort of basic line a fighter feeds the public, alongside “I’ve had the best camp of my life,” but the truth is, Poirier’s words are backed up by Alvarez’s record.
Alvarez has had some of his most memorable performances in pressure situations over the years. There was his win over Michael Chandler in a classic of a rematch in Long Beach when Alvarez’s relations with Bellator were strained to the breaking point. Then, after laying an egg in his UFC debut against Donald Cerrone, Alvarez ripped off wins over Gilbert Melendez, Anthony Pettis, and Rafael dos Anjos en route to the UFC lightweight title.
That is the competitor Poirier expects to face when he meets Alvarez in Calgary.
“Now we have a guy cornered,” Poirier said. “We’ve been chasing him, the UFC has been chasing him for this rematch. We’ve got him cornered. I believe he’s fighting out his contract, he didn’t come to an agreement with the UFC. He didn’t want this fight, so we’ve got a man doing two things he doesn’t want to do. I’m sure he wanted some security, he wanted a new contract, he wanted the numbers he was asking for.
“So now he’s betting on himself and he’s fighting his contract out, and he’s fighting someone he doesn’t really want to fight,” Poirier continued. “So he has a point to prove. This might be the most dangerous Eddie Alvarez we’ve ever seen. And I know that, and expect that, and I’m excited about it.”
The bout was finalized last month after false starts and a bit of gamesmanship on both men’s sides. Poirier is coming off his ‘Fight of the Year’ contender over Justin Gaethje, and he was ready to take some time off this summer if the Alvarez fight didn’t come through. So he set a deadline, stuck to his word, and let things play out on Alvarez’s end.
“I’m living my life, too,” Poirier said. “I’m not waiting on Edward Alvarez to be a man and take the fight. So I told them you have a week. If you can get them to say yes in a week I’ll fight, just like I said yes all the other times. They come back close to the end of the week saying hey Dana [White] is actually going out there Sunday, I gave them a Friday deadline. They said Dana is going out Sunday, will you wait til Monday to find out? I said alright, if you all have to go talk to him in person no problem, let’s get this fight done.”
Eventually, it got done, and the rematch the MMA world craved has been made. Which brings us back to square one, the whole reason why this fight needs to be run back in the first place — their UFC 211 fight was ruled a no-contest when Alvarez hit Poirier with an illegal knee.
A year later, Poirier said that while he believed at the time that Alvarez threw the knee by accident, Alvarez’s comments since that time indicate that maybe he knew exactly what he was doing.
“I respect the guy for betting on himself and believing in himself, I think we’re going to go out there and prove who’s better,” Poirier said. “But I felt like I was winning the fight and I grew up watching Eddie Alvarez fight, like I said, in Japan or whatever, when HD Net was around, they used to push him well. I was a big fan of the guy.
“But just things that were said after fight, the shot that ended the fight. I’ve been stopped obviously a couple times in fighting. I never had any symptoms of concussions or anything. That knee that Eddie hit me with was the worst symptoms of a concussion I’ve ever had in my life. That was an illegal shot that got me good, man. I’m a warrior too, I’ll go out on my shield. That was a bad shot. In the middle of the fight, I thought it was an accident. But just the stuff the guy said online, ‘are you off your stool now?’, That’s where I lost respect for the guy. … That makes me feel like maybe the shot was a veteran move.”