Alvarez (21-2), widely considered the most talented 155-pounder never to step foot inside the Octagon, will finally get the opportunity to defend his title against season two tournament winner Pat Curran when they hook 'em up in the main event of Bellator 39 this Saturday night (April 2) from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.
And by his account, the "Lil' Frog" is just as dangerous as anyone the UFC has to offer.
The Philadelphia native has a history of greeting Zuffa exiles looking for greener pastures outside of "Sin City." After strangling Josh Neer in May 2010, Alvarez beat the brakes off Roger Huerta at Bellator 33 just five months later.
Were they talented? Or just known? Alvarez explains his reasoning to SI.com:
"...They're only important names why? Because they fight for the UFC. Or else they'd be nobodies. The UFC does a great job of pushing them, and they're popular. It doesn't mean they're talented. It just means they're known. I guarantee that if you put them in a tournament structure like Bellator, they're not going to win it every time. Gray Maynard? Kenny Florian? All these guys, they're UFC fighters, that's all. They're pushed by the UFC, but when they leave the UFC, they're forgotten. When's the last time you heard Josh Neer's name? You haven't. When's the last time you heard about Roger Huerta? You haven't. They're no ones anymore. What were they two years ago? They were superstars."
"El Nino's" boss, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, entertained the possibility of bringing the 155-pound champions (and consensus top five ranked lightweights) into a superfight under a co-promotion agreement but somewhere along the way either he (or Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney) got cold feet and the fight never came to be.
And now that Strikeforce has been acquired by Zuffa, any potential crossover can be filed under "D" for dead.
Does that keep Alvarez out of your top ten rankings? Or do you agree that UFC lightweights are more marketing than muscle?