Former Bellator and UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez has had a distinguished career in MMA. 15 years, 36 fights, 29 wins. His last four years have been spent in the UFC, and he has fought a lot of the toughest guys in the division in that time. And it just so happens that The Underground King is now a free agent.
The 35-year-old is coming off a TKO loss to Dustin Poirier, but is still in a good bargaining position as one of the best 155-pounders in the world. And UFC president Dana White understands that. But somewhat surprisingly, while White would love to keep him under the UFC umbrella, he will also respect Eddie’s decision if he chooses to ply his trade in another organization.
He explained as a guest on the most recent UFC Unfiltered podcast:
“I like Eddie Alvarez. I like him personally, and I like him professionally. He’s at an age now where he needs to make some decisions for his family and for what will probably be the last contract he signs for the rest of his career. I’m in a place if Eddie wants to go somewhere else and try it, I’m cool with that. If Eddie wants to stay, I’d keep him here too.
“I told him that. I told him, ‘Listen, if you want to finish your career with me I would like that. If you want to finish your career somewhere else, I have no problem with that either, man.’ When guys get to the point where it’s the last contract they’ll ever sign, I understand.”
“At the end of the day, what we’re looking for here are young guys that want to be world champions,” White said. “Young guys that know they can be a world champion in the UFC. Or girls that know they can be a world champion in the UFC. If you feel that you can’t be and you feel there’s a better decision you can make at this point in your career for the last contract you’ll ever sign, I absolutely understand that.”
Alvarez (29-6, 1 NC, 4-3 1 NC UFC) should have plenty of suitors on the free agent market. He made his name in Bellator as a two-time champion, and had an extended run in Asia before that so he’s well known around the world. There are still plenty of great matchups for him in the UFC if he stays, but the idea of a third fight with Michael Chandler has plenty of upside as well.