At age 28, Eddie Alvarez is in the sort of position most fighters envy.
The Philadelphia native is MMA's hottest free agent, coming off a spectacular win over Patricky Friere on Oct. 12 in the final fight of his Bellator contract
But while he waits for his contract saga to play out, he's got a unique way of keeping himself grounded: He's going to pour some concrete.
Alvarez told MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani on Wednesday's edition of The MMA Hour that even though he quit his full-time job as a construction worker years ago, from time to time, he'll still go work a shift with his old crew.
"I still call my boss and see if he has work for me," Alvarez said. "I felt like doing that work, even though I was undersized at welterweight, doing the concrete work, I was so much stronger than a lot of the guys I was fighting, because of the concrete work. So I still tell him, if he has a lot of concrete at the yard to pour or something that will give me a good workout, I'll get strength and conditioning in and just work for him."
Although Alvarez is 24-3 in MMA competition, when he's pouring concrete, his co-workers tend not to believe what he does for his main job.
"It's humbling, a lot of construction guys think I'm full of s--, they don't believe that's what I do," he said. "So I just try to keep my head down and push the barrels and work. What they say is they go ‘you wouldn't have to be out here if you were a good fighter,' something like that. I'm like ‘you're right, I don't have to be out here.'"
Meanwhile, Alvarez will let the negotiation game play out. Bellator, with whom he's fought since the company's debut event in April 2009, has a 90-day period in which it can negotiate exclusively with the former lightweight champion. The Bellator will maintain the right to match competing contract offers for an unspecified window after the 90-day time frame.
And Alvarez sounds like someone who isn't about to burn any bridges, especially with Bellator preparing to make its jump to Spike TV next year.
"I want to sit down with the people of Viacom," Alvarez said. "I'm interested in what's going on with the Spike deal next year. Of course Bellator has a ton of huge things going on, and I'm interested in what them guys have to say. From there, we'll field offers from everyone else, the UFC and everyone else, whoever's out there, I don't know who's out there. I didn't know Bellator existed, they just started when I was done with my Dream contract, they just popped up out of nowhere."
In the meantime, Alvarez is happy the Friere fight, which he won via spectacular head-kick knockout, is behind him.
"In the past when I thought certain fights would allowed me to do it, it never happened. This was one of those fights where, I didn't think about possibly getting head kick knockout. It was something coach Henri Hooft down in Florida with the Blackzilians, coach Henry, he tells me all the time ‘you have great kicks and you don't use them enough, you need to start using them,' because it will help me set up my punches better and set up my takedowns. I really started throwing my kicks toward the end of training camp in Florida, it just came out. It wasn't forced, it was sort of a natural.
"Focusing on what could happen and what should happen is never, never a positive thing," he continued. "It was really important to worry about what happened then. It showed. I was really focused that night, really excited that night, my mind was only on one thing, and that was beating that guy in front of me and doing it in a dominant fashion."
One person who noticed Alvarez's efforts last week was UFC president Dana White, who made no secret in his interest in bringing Alvarez over to the UFC.
"Dana's a character, man, he likes to play games," Alvarez said. "I know what he's doing, I know what he's up to, hat's off to him and I'll see what happens."
Until then, Alvarez will sit back and let everything play out, and work a conrcete-pouring shift or two.
"I'm not impatient," he said. "I'm taking my time with this. There's very few times in your career when you become a free agent after winning. That's the biggest key. So I'm taking my time, enjoying my family back home, and just eating a little bit of normal meals."