Multiple-time former lightweight world champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez came to ONE Championship for one reason, and that is to win the ONE Lightweight World Championship. It’s a feat that he says will cement his status as the greatest lightweight in the history of mixed martial arts.
If he can defeat his next opponent soundly, Alvarez may just get the chance to make history.
Alvarez is set to face #2-ranked lightweight contender Iuri Lapicus in the co-main event of “ONE on TNT I,” the first of a four-part event series which broadcasts Wed., April 7 (Thu., April 8 in Asia), live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.
“For me, personally, I would be the greatest lightweight to ever grace the sport of MMA. That’s how I feel about it. It’s easy to be great for five years, or ten years, and have that energy to be able to do that, just to take on the sport and be energetic and excited about what you do,” Alvarez told the media at the ‘ONE on TNT I’ Virtual Media Day.
“But this is almost two decades going, traveling all the parts of the world, fighting champion after champion after champion, from all over. Not staying in one place, and taking on all challengers. At the end of the day, my resume will speak for itself. If anybody wants to debate it, just check the scoreboard.”
Alvarez joined ONE Championship in March 2019. However, his promotional debut didn’t exactly go the way he wanted it to. Alvarez was brutally stopped by hard-hitting Russian foe, Timofey Nastyukhin, in one of the worst beatings of his career.
“The Underground King” chalked it up as a learning experience, and knows exactly what he’s up against in Lapicus.
“For me, just even being in the weight class that I’m in is a challenge. The guys are much larger, a bigger frame. A lot of them are bigger than me, so it’s a challenge already,” said Alvarez.
“Lapicus has a lot of skills. He’s well-rounded. He’s relaxed. He fights like a veteran and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I see holes in his game. I see mistakes he makes and I’m going to make him pay for them. He’s a very good fighter. He’s beaten a lot of good guys, and I respect him.”
“ONE on TNT I” features a main event showdown between ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix, and 12-time UFC World Champion Demetrious Johnson and reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes.
Also on the card is an appearance from ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon.
Alvarez is approaching this next bout very carefully. A win here, over the division’s second-ranked fighter, would no doubt put him in a great position to ask for a title shot. A loss would send him further down the ladder.
The American veteran plans on showcasing his entire arsenal to claim victory in any way possible.
“It’s about using all my skills, using everything. A lot of times, I get into a fight and it’s the same thing over and over. They all just kind of turn into brawls, but I think using everything is important to me,” said Alvarez.
“I want to be able to use my kicks, my punches, my takedowns, my jiu-jitsu. I want to look like a well-rounded fighter out there. Although I try to do it, my fights end up becoming brawls. I’ve been trying to change that, it hasn’t been happening. But I’m doing my best inside the training room, to use all my tools, to use everything I got.”
The “ONE on TNT” series will air every Wednesday in the United States from April 7 for four weeks. Each week will include a preliminary card digitally streamed exclusively on the Bleacher Report App and B/R Live from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET, followed by three main card fights televised exclusively on TNT in the U.S. at 10 p.m. ET. It will be available in Asia via the usual channels.