Since Alvarez won the lightweight title last month, he has been pretty adamant about getting a big money fight, and the biggest money fight in MMA today is UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor. But recently, with Tony Ferguson being booked against Rafael dos Anjos, it's started to look like the UFC is pushing for Alvarez's first title defense to be against top-ranked contender Khabib Nurmagomedov. Perhaps in an effort to dissuade this notion and land himself the bigger payday, the lightweight champ did several interviews with various media outlets Monday, and in each one of them, he made a point to go after McGregor.
"I don't know him personally, but thank God he's good at talking because he can't fight for shit," Alvarez told CBS Sports Radio's Tiki and Tierney. "Look, in this sport - the good thing about the UFC and MMA in general is a lot of it's based on perception. They're very good at tweaking this perception. If I can put the right guy with the right mouthpiece in front of the right opponents, we can build a champion, but he doesn't really have to beat the best guys; we just have to give him the right match-ups. This is what this guy's been given. Any real fighter, anybody who knows the sport of MMA, sees the style match-ups that he picks and understands this guy is not putting himself in any danger. He's not fighting anyone who he feels he can lose to.
"Diaz is a great style matchup for him. The reason he originally picked Diaz is he believed that was a great style matchup for him because Diaz only punches, he don't kick, he don't take down - he does everything Conor wants to do. Conor wants to box. He don't want to be involved in the sport of MMA."
Claims of "cherry picking" opponents have followed McGregor for most of his meteoric rise through the UFC. McGregor is primarily a striker and up until his victory of late replacement Chad Mendes at UFC 189, he didn't fight any grappling-first fighters in his run through the featherweight division. That win did little to silence McGregor's critics who saw Mendes' early success against McGregor as proof positive of his deficiencies in MMA grappling.
Alvarez himself seems to be one of these critics. After his interview with CBS Sports, Alvarez did a brief interview with TMZ where he continued down this line, mocking McGregor for his recent decision to call out the entire world of professional wrestling.
"The only wrestler that Conor is going to actually challenge is a fake wrestler. That's the only one he's ever gonna challenge. A fake one."
In actuality, McGregor did in fact challenge lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos who has the fourth-most takedowns landed in UFC lightweight history and also holds victories over Mendes - tied for third most takedowns in UFC featherweight history and is third in takedown accuracy - and Diego Brandao - tenth in takedowns landed and first in accuracy - (all stats per FightMetric).
But Alvarez wasn't quite done yet. The lightweight champ also paid a visit to Norton and Friends on SiriusXM radio where he delved into who he is so adamant about a fight with McGregor.
"This is what happens. You win a world title, you beat the best guys in the world, and a lot of these fans are kind of misconstrued about who are the best fighters in the world. They think that because guys are the most popular that means they're the best fighters. So I'll beat a bunch of good guys and then I'll get a ton of fans come up to me and go, 'Do you think you can beat Conor McGregor?' And I'm like, 'Oh my God. You guys are disillusioned.' They think because this man's popular he's good. And neither one of them have anything to do with each other."
Alvarez went on to say that beating McGregor up would be an "eye-opener" for the many fans that he believes are "a lot deluded" about how good McGregor is.
McGregor rematches Diaz at UFC 202 in 11 days. Should McGregor win, the UFC may seek to do a trilogy fight between the two later this year. Or a win could put McGregor right back in line for the lightweight title shot he lost when Rafael dos Anjos withdrew from their scheduled UFC 196 fight. Either way, a McGregor win almost certainly means Alvarez will continue to be bombarded with questions about fighting the Irish superstar.
"To be honest with you I'm just getting tired of being asked about Conor McGregor. So the winner of that fight, I'd like to go after and fight."
CBS Sports Interview.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Like the wolf. Alistair Overeem thinks he is "hungrier" heading into his fight with Stipe Miocic.
Tall order. Benson Henderson believes Mackenzie Dern will be "bigger than Ronda Rousey."
Believe. Chris Weidman is doubtful that Dan Henderson will retire if he beats Michael Bisping.
Won't matter. Jim Miller says Mickey Gall can't allow outside factors to affect him against CM Punk.
Vomit. John Danaher recounted a story about GSP vomiting ahead of his fight with Nick Diaz.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Read this now. Tim Bissell of Bloody Elbow delves into the cultural legacy of arts and fighting surrounding Afghan fighter Siyar Nahadurzada.
Conor and Mendes
I really enjoyed this fan made promo.
Missed this post fight interview with Ishihara the other day.
Conor's coach has a Vlog.
The Brit Pack.
Anik and Flo.
Anyone feeling less hype for this than expected?
UFC 202. #13days— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) August 8, 2016
If Arlovski or Barnett fake a injury before their fight... I know a guy that would step in @ufc ✊— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) August 9, 2016
Hanging out with one of my fans lol pic.twitter.com/4QXmutrgPP— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) August 6, 2016
DC might be the only person in the world who thinks this.
Suicide Squad was awesome!— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 8, 2016
DJ shoots a gun that is bigger than him, with Frank Mir.
1) That is terrifying. 2) Love that Khabib fans won't stop spamming Dana's social media.
Some days you don't want to go. You want the lake. You want a movie with your girl. You want a cold beer on a beach. But it doesn't matter what you want. That can wait. You are gonna go. You're gonna sweat, you're gonna suffer. Because it is part of your code. Because it is something more important than what you want at any given moment. It is who you are. #getonnit @onnit
Mike Segura (4-3-0) vs. Jacob Rosales (3-2-0); Bellator 160, August 26.
Jonny Cisneros (9-4-0) vs. Andy Murad (12-2-0); Bellator 160, August 26.
Jake Roberts (6-0-0) vs. Stephen Martinez (11-4-0); Bellator 160, August 26.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2003: Ron Waterman became the inaugural WEC super heavyweight champion when he stopped James Nevarez with punches at WEC 7: This Time It's Personal.
2008: Georges St-Pierre outclassed Jon Fitch over 5 rounds to retain his UFC welterweight championship in the main event of UFC 87: Seek and Destroy. This event also saw the UFC debut of future UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones who defeated Andre Gusmao via unanimous decision.
2009: Brian Bowles knocked out Miguel Torres to become the WEC bantamweight champion at WEC 42. In the co-main event, Dominick Cruz won a decision over Joseph Benavidez to earn the next bantamweight title shot.
2014: Mizuki Inoue submitted Emi Tomimatsu with an armbar to become the Deep Jewels lightweight (115 lbs.) champion.
I may have said this before but I thought of it again when hearing Eddie angling for a fight with the winner of Diaz (fourth-ranked LW) and Conor who isn't ranked at lightweight: it is a strange thing that the five "original" UFC divisions are all championed by fighters who wouldn't be the betting favorites in all of their fights. Eddie would likely be the betting underdog to Khabib and Tony Ferguson, and maybe a few other guys as well. Woodley already is an underdog to GSP and would also be one to Wonderboy Thompson. Bisping would be the underdog to just about every ranked middleweight other than Dan Henderson. Cormier obviously is the underdog to Jon Jones (if Jon somehow avoids a suspension) and Stipe would be a dog to Cain. Throw in that Amanda Nunes would probably be a betting dog to either Rousey or Pena (and possibly Shevchenko too) and six of the 10 UFC champions aren't viewed as the best fighters in their weight classes by the public. Strange times these are.
And that's it for today folks. Yesterday a majority of you determined that the Conor-WWE thing wasn't a work but merely Conor taking advantage of an advantageous situation. Today you can decide if Conor McGregor can or cannot "fight for sh*t." I'm sure the debate in the comments will be reasonable and courteous.
Today is the day you prove your doubters wrong. Until tomorrow M.Rmy.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.