Eddie Alvarez went into 2018 with one Fight remaining on his UFC contract. He wanted to talk with the UFC about a new deal before competing in another fight.
For most fighters, the idea of accepting a fight with one bout left on a deal is a risky proposition. A win puts them in the driver’s seat, but a loss will more than likely prevent them from receiving their desired salary moving forward.
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Alvarez was faced with this proposition when the UFC first offered him a rematch against Dustin Poirier at UFC Calgary. He didn’t jump on the fight right away; he says he wanted to see how talks with UFC president Dana White would go.
Poirier views things differently; he told Sporting News that Alvarez and his team thought he was a bad matchup.
“I basically ducked the idea of making less money with less opportunity,” Alvarez told Sporting News. “That’s what I ducked. I never duck anyone. If you look at my resume, nobody fights the people I fight back-to-back-to-back. I fight the best and most dangerous guys in the world. To ever question me on why I’m not fighting someone, that’s silly. You just don’t know the sport.
“What I will duck is the idea of something that has less opportunity for me and less money for me. I will duck that all day, and if (Poirier’s) name happened to be on that contract, then, yes, I stayed away from that. I took something that was a better opportunity for me. At this point, he’s the best opportunity for me. There is no one else, so I fight him now. The timing was good for him.”
The first fight between Alvarez and Poirier, at UFC 211, ended in controversy when Alvarez landed a knee that hit Poirier in the head while Poirier’s hands were on the mat. After a review with Marc Ratner, the UFC’s vice president of regulatory affairs, referee Herb Dean ruled the fight a no-contest even though fans felt Alvarez should have been disqualified for the blow.
“I don’t care about the decision that was made, “Alvarez said. “That’s the honest truth. I don’t care because that’s not my job. I’m told by the promotion, we’re going to lock you in a cage with another guy and you are going to get in a fistfight. There’s going to be a referee there. Whatever goes on illegally or whatever, the referee can make his call at whatever discretion he wants.
“Those are the rules I agreed to. Besides that, my only job is to survive and fight. That’s it. Whoever judges makes the calls and the refs do their jobs. I’m not here making calls. My job is to fight and I did my job.”
Fight No. 2 will take place Saturday night in Canada. Even though he doesn’t know what his status will be Sunday morning, Alvarez sees the gamble he made on himself paying off in a big way.
“The thing that hasn’t been established between me and Dustin is that I can predict where the fight goes,” Alvarez said. “I have that ability. I can predict if we want the fight up or down and he understands that and I’m going to exploit that. I’m going to land a very big shot and then I will submit him. I’ll submit a guy who’s halfway knocked out.”