Eddie Alvarez can tell you all about title belts.
He’s the only fighter ever to hold both the UFC and Bellator lightweight titles.
Along the way, he’s earned victories over an entire alphabet soup’s worth of champs and former champs from Rafael dos Anjos (UFC) to Anthony Pettis (UFC and WEC) to Michael Chandler (Bellator) to Gilbert Melendez (Strikeforce) to, most recently, Justin Gaethje (WSOF).
Having been there and done that, Alvarez is now most interested in his self-proclaimed Most Violent Fighter belt, for which he made a convincing case with his Fight of the Year-contender win over Gaethje in Detroit at UFC 218.
“I want the best fights, I want them to be violent, and I want the fans to be jumping and screaming the same way they were on Dec. 2 in Detroit,” Alvarez said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “That felt good to me, so I want to continue to feel good about the fights that I’m in.”
Of course, there’s a method to Alvarez’s madness here. Alvarez understands there’s a logjam at the top of the UFC lightweight division. Conor McGregor is the champion, but he hasn’t defended the title since winning it from Alvarez 13 months ago and doesn’t seem in any rush to return to the cage.
The UFC also awarded an interim belt to Tony Ferguson in October by virtue of a win over Kevin Lee. But Ferguson is out after elbow surgery and is likely holding out to fight McGregor next anyway.
“I’m a realist,” Alvarez said. “My eye’s always on that gold belt. I feel like I f*cked up, I lost my belt, and I’m pissed about it. But I’m being realistic. I can’t, we can’t make Conor get back in there, he’s going to ask for certain [things], it’s gonna take awhile for that guy to defend that. Tony is waiting for Conor. Tony is going to sit, he’s gonna wait for that Conor fight and try to get that big payday.”
So the way Alvarez sees it, rather than spin his wheels and let the UFC’s title mess cause his career to be put on hold, he’ll will his MVF championship into existence and keep defending it as long as the fans want to see the most exciting fighters clash with each other.
“Right now, sh*t just isn’t defined with the title,” Alvarez said. “And to be honest, there’s not a lot of value in it. What value is in it? There’s an interim guy who beat the No. 7 guy to become the champion. That’s not a champion. You can’t bring the No. 7 ranked guy in and then put him against the No 1 contender and he beats him and says now you’re the champion. That’s silly in any organization, any sport, anything. So the champion isn’t defending. So now the value of the belt loses its value. So for me I’m like, let’s make another belt, whoever is the Most Violent. We can make up whatever belts we want.”