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UFC Boston: Eddie Alvarez 'baffled' by MMA fans picking Anthony Pettis to win

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Pettis is expected to make his long-awaited return to the Octagon against Eddie Alvarez at UFC Fight Night 81 on Jan. 17, 2015 in Boston, Mass., after coughing up his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight title to Rafael dos Anjos earlier this year.

That said, we can all expect to see a highly-motivated ex-champion out to put on a performance that reminds everyone why he once sat atop of the 155-pound mountain. At least that's the guy Alvarez says he expects to face in the center of the cage.

But during his recent guest spot on The MMA Hour, Alvarez insisted that a well-trained and highly-motivated Pettis is still not going to be good enough to take him out in "Beantown."

"As an ex-champion myself, it's always the most highly-motivated, well-trained person you are going to go against. Coming off a loss for your title, you are the most motivated, you're waking up early, going to bed late. It's just one of those things where you want to get back and prove to fans and prove to the world that you're a champion. And, I'm expecting that guy, but that guy won't be good enough. Not in Boston, not against me. I just don't feel however he comes back, the guy he comes back like will not be good enough against myself. It's just not going to happen. I'm baffled by fans perception of this fight, but it makes me more excited to go out there and do what I am about to do. It's just, I don't realize how and where fans come up with these predictions. To me, this guy is super popular and they think the world of him, or I don't know. Maybe I'm seeing something they're not seeing. But we'll see. The truth will come in January."

UFC officials have yet to announce their fight, but Alvarez did confirm that contracts have been signed.

Eddie is coming off a split-decision victory over Gilbert Melendez, which went down at UFC 188 this past summer in Mexico City, Mexico (highlights). The loss to Dos Anjos, meanwhile, was the first for Pettis after reeling off five wins in a row, including his first-ever title defense against the aforementioned Melendez late last year.

Anyone expect "Showtime" to get back on the winning track against the former Bellator champ? Or will he simply not be "good enough?"