It’s been a rough road for Eddie Alvarez after capturing the UFC lightweight title from Rafael dos Anjos last year. Not only did “Underground King” get destroyed by Conor McGregor at UFC 205 to lose his 155-pound crown, but his recent clash with Dustin Poirier at UFC 211 was ruled a no contest after Alvarez struck “Diamond” with illegal knees.
As a result of his recent shortcomings, Alvarez hasn’t tasted victory in over 15 months. That’s the second longest drought of the 33-year-old’s storied career.
Luckily for Alvarez, he’ll have a chance to right the UFC ship when he takes on undefeated lightweight title contender Justin Gaethje at UFC 218 on Dec. 2 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
“In my mind, I’m just looking, for myself, I just don’t feel like I’ve fought my best fight in the UFC yet,” said Alvarez in a recent interview with MMA Tonight. “I feel like I’m having a moment now where I want to say that I’m not giving a f**k and I feel like the less I give a f**k, the better I fight. I think I cared a bit too much, even in my title fight which I won, I just cared a little bit too much and I didn’t risk enough. I just want to approach the game where I really just don’t give a f**k. I think I fight better that way.
“I think when I entered the UFC [I started caring too much]. There was a big thing, could I compete with the best guys in the world? Could I compete with the guys in the UFC? There was that whole stigma that the guys from the smaller promotions couldn’t hang with the best guys in the UFC so I just let my surroundings and the things I was hearing affect the way I was fighting. It made me focus more on winning than on being me. I was so worried about winning and proving people wrong that I could win the UFC world title, [but] when you get focused too much on winning I don’t feel like you’re able to be your total self. I do better when I care less.
“Any fans tuning in, my preparation purely for this fight, if I’m working anything every day, really hard, I’m working on just not giving a f*ck so you might want to tune in for this fight.”
If Alvarez does in fact enter the cage at UFC 218 with a free-flowing gameplan then fight fans will be in for one hell of a treat. Along with Alvarez, Gaethje is one of the most game opponents in the UFC’s crowded lightweight division. His recent battle with Michael Johnson this past July in his UFC debut is proof that “Highlight” is as dangerous, and crazy, as any fighter at 155 pounds.
“I respect the guy. He trains hard, he has a good strong mind, and he’s undefeated,” said Alvarez of Gaethje. “He reminds me a bit of myself when I first started and I felt like I was unbeatable. I felt [that way] until I met that one guy. A lot of the things that he does and the way he approaches the game is a lot like myself and he’s just waiting in a couple months to meet that guy.”
Whoever comes out victorious between Alvarez and Gaethje will land on a short list of worthy lightweight title contenders. Gaethje obviously has more going for him considering his undefeated track record, but Alvarez is a former UFC champion who is capable of dragging any lightweight opponent into deep water.
For more UFC 218 fight card news click here.