Asian MMA promotion ONE Championship could be on the verge of a major signing of one of the greatest lightweights of all-time.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported on Saturday that former Bellator and UFC champion Eddie Alvarez is close to agreeing to a multi-fight contract with ONE, having become a free agent after his UFC on FOX 30 loss to Dustin Poirier in July. Nothing has been made official yet, but it’d obviously mean that the UFC would lose a top-5 lightweight.
Alvarez (29-6, 1 NC) signed with the UFC in 2014 after Scott Coker granted him his release from Bellator MMA. After losing to Donald Cerrone in his debut, he won split decisions over Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis to set himself up for a title shot against Rafael dos Anjos in July 2016. Alvarez would TKO the Brazilian in the opening round to become the first fighter in MMA history to win titles in Bellator and the UFC. His reign would be short-lived, as Conor McGregor TKO’d Alvarez at UFC 205.
After a no contest vs. Dustin Poirier due to an illegal knee he threw to the head of a downed Poirier, the 34-year-old engaged in a classic war with Justin Gaethje at UFC 218, winning by KO and handing Gaethje his first career loss. Poirier would best Alvarez in the rematch by second-round TKO, and it looks like that’s the last time we’ll see Eddie inside the Octagon.
Who knows? Maybe Alvarez will have a trilogy bout with Shinya Aoki, seeing as that scoreline is currently 1-1.