Last week, Dustin Poirier claimed that Eddie Alvarez turned down a potential rematch on five separate occasions.
On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Alvarez responded in no uncertain terms.
“The thought of ducking or not signing, that’s just silly talk,” the former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion said.
The beef between Poirier and Alvarez started with their cracker of a fight at UFC 211, which got halted midway through the second round just as it was starting to reach Fight of the Year levels of intensity.
The bout was ruled a no-contest when Poirier was unable to continue after Alvarez drilled him in the head with an illegal knee. And while Poirier campaigned hard for a rematch, Alvarez instead accepted a gig coaching on The Ultimate Fighter opposite Justin Gaethje.
Alvarez acknowledged that he turned down a Poirier rematch around the time he took the TUF gig, and he said he has no regrets about the decision.
“I believe I was offered Dustin the first time he was angry,” Alvarez said. “But I was given The Ultimate Fighter show, and I think that’s where all his bitterness comes from. I think he wanted to be on The Ultimate Fighter show, they gave me the gig, and I got paid well for that, and I got a very good opponent. So I basically got a better opportunity than Dustin Poirier and I took it. If that’s ducking, then I’m ducking, yes, But I’ll always take more money and a better opponent over someone else any day of the week.”
Alvarez claims that, despite what Poirier said last week, he has never been formally offered a Poirier rematch since the first time it was brought up. Additionally, with Alvarez having just one fight left on his UFC contract, Alvarez doesn’t expect a formal fight offer until a new contract is at least near.
“We spoke about it. But the only thing spoken about after Justin Gaethje was re-signing with the UFC,” he said. “I never got an opponent or a bout agreement. They never said ‘here’s a bout agreement for an opponent.’ The only thing we spoke of was re-signing and we haven’t come to that agreement yet. So I’m guessing there’s not going to be an opponent or a bout agreement in the mail unless I’m ready to re-sign. So when we come to agreement to re-sign, then I’m sure there will be a bout agreement in the mail.”
Alvarez said the company’s first contract offer was inadequate, but he hopes that in the end, he’ll stay with the UFC. That’s particularly true since the UFC lightweight roster is currently one of the deepest for any division in any company in the history of the sport, giving Alvarez plenty of viable fight options.
“I leave every option open,” Alvarez said. “I always have throughout my whole career. I’m willing to do whatever. I want to sit down with the UFC and just come to an agreement. I feel like the best guys are here, I still have a couple guys in the division that I want to take out and have on my resume so I definitely have some unfinished business here.”
And if Poirier ends up Alvarez’s opponent when all is said and done? That’s fine, too.
“That wouldn’t bother me at all,” Alvarez said. “At this point, I just want the UFC to come to me with a fight. I kind of want to get my deal done with UFC, and then I kind of want to do what the UFC wants to do. If the UFC says that’s next fight, then that’s next fight. I want to be in a fight I’m excited about.”
Alvarez even had praise for Poirier’s work in his recent fourth-round finish of Gaethje.
“I feel like it went exactly the way I thought it would go, except he was able to gut it out,” Alvarez said. “I didn’t see him gutting it out. It looked like he was switching stances, he was doing a lot of the things I was doing. I know how hard Justin kicks, so I didn’t see Dustin gutting it out. I thought Justin Gaethje would end up taking over and winning. But Dustin surprised a lot of people and stuck in there so my hat’s off to him, he fought well.”