When Tony Ferguson injured himself over the weekend and was forced out of his lightweight title bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov this upcoming Saturday, the UFC was thrown into chaos. The marquee fight of the UFC’s biggest event so far in 2018 was suddenly no more and Dana White and company had to scramble to find a suitable replacement fight to headline UFC 223. In the end, current UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway answered the call and will be stepping up on short notice for a chance to win his second belt in the UFC. But apparently Holloway wasn’t the only fighter the UFC reached out to to step in for Ferguson.
Speaking on an Instagram Live video from his personal account, former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez said that the UFC reached out to him about possibly saving the day but that he was unable to make the lightweight limit on such short notice.
“Me and my wife were getting ready for Easter and I got a call from Lloyd, my manager,” explained Alvarez. “It was April first so just like you guys, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. Then he told me Tony got hurt and when he told me how Tony got hurt, I really thought it was an April Fool’s joke, so I’m just as shocked and disappointed as you guys are.
“It would have been great to be ready for that fight and be ready to step in and save the day, but unfortunately, I am way, way too big to make the 155-pound limit on six days’ notice. I think most guys at 155, especially in the top five, can’t make that 155-pound limit on six days’ notice.”
Alvarez is the former lightweight champion who lost his title to Conor McGregor at UFC 205. but put himself back in title consideration with a sensational knockout of Justin Gaethje at UFC 218. As one of the few top lightweights without a current dance partner, Alvarez would’ve been a prime candidate to step in for the injured Ferguson had he been prepared to do so and “The Underground King” even said he would be staying ready for that opportunity as recently as February. Unfortunately, Alvarez explained, once the fight got closer and there was still no sign of either man backing out, he gave up the dream and began taking it easy.
“I’ll be honest, I’m disappointed in myself a little bit because I kind of had the foresight to see this happening,” said Alvarez. “I even talked about it happening but when it got like three to four weeks out, I just said ‘F**k it, these guys are gonna fight. There’s really no reason for me to be ready.’
“I’m every bit of 190 right now so there wasn’t even a small chance that I could make 155. . . I asked about doing a catchweight at welterweight but all they asked me was what’s the lowest that I could get to. I’m probably a little more than 190. I’m heavier than I’ve ever been because I haven’t fought in a long time.”
Alvarez went on to say that he doesn’t actually believe he was the UFC’s first choice for the fight anyway but that they were “shopping around” to find a contender who could fit their needs. That could be a blessing in disguise for Alvarez though who has a healthy amount of respect for the skills of Nurmagomedov, saying that taking a fight with “The Eagle” on less than a week’s notice is asking a lot from any fighter.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take advantage of that opportunity, but to be honest with you, my real feelings on it is that Khabib is not the fighter that you take on six days’ notice,” said Alvarez. “In order to beat Khabib, you need to be conditioned, No. 1. He already poses a unique style but number one you have to be very, very well conditioned. Beating Khabib on six days’ notice is a very, very, tough, tough ask.”
And as for the man who did step up to just such a challenge? How does Alvarez think the featherweight champion will fare against the undefeated Dagestani on Saturday night? Alvarez has nothing but praise for Holloway but thinks that “Blessed” is going to be far from his best self come fight night.
“To do it on six days’ notice, my hat’s off to Max. . . Max Holloway’s a f**king beast,” said Alvarez. “Max Holloway single-handedly ran through his division, fought the best guys in the world, but anybody who’s a fighter understands the difference between someone who’s in the peak of their training camp and the difference of someone who is just starting their training camp. It’s a vast difference. We’re not gonna see the real Max Holloway on Saturday. We’re just not. as much as we love Max Holloway, and as much as I think the world of him and he’s a great champion, we’re not gonna see the real Max Holloway on Saturday.”
Sucks. Tony Ferguson feels ‘freak injury’ during ‘UFC-obligated’ event shouldn’t cost him title.
Turn down. If he were in Max Holloway’s spot, Khabib Nurmagomedov said he wouldn’t have accepted UFC 223 fight.
Legend. Max Holloway’s on his short notice title shot: ‘This is how legends are made.’
In depth look at Khabib and crew in Brooklyn.
Let’s not forget about the real story in MMA right now.
Fighters reacting to the magic that was Team MMA.
Perhaps this will take the sting off of it.
The MMA Hour. In studio interviews with Khabib, Joanna, Tonon, Max, and more.
Anik and Florian. Discussing the late unpleasantness plus Cormier stops by.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Incredible. Thank you all.
They also sign to fight significantly more often.
These fools pull out more times than I do with my dick.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 2, 2018
Cutting weight together.
Ortega saying he came was also offered the fight, and if I’m Dustin Poirier, I’m livid.
For the record, Dana called me yesterday to see if I would step in against Khabib since Max hadn’t responded yet. I said yes. Eventually, Max replied and Dana gave him the fight. If all goes according to plan, I’ll get my turn - at both of them.— Brian Ortega (@BrianTcity) April 2, 2018
For those who say im lying, just going to leave this up here for you. Have a good day . New York see you this weekend! pic.twitter.com/mPIXYsQwOi— Brian Ortega (@BrianTcity) April 2, 2018
Boss Logic on the new main event.
Only exception is Fernando and he shoulda won lol pic.twitter.com/V6Hw5ieToT— David Rickels (@TheCaveman316) April 2, 2018
PFL gets another one.
I am extremely grateful, humbled, and very excited to announce my signing with @ProFightLeague thank you to the best in the business @AliAbdelaziz00 @sugarraysefo for believing in me. BIG THINGS COMING! pic.twitter.com/K7576Iak8f— Ramsey Nijem (@RamseyNijem) April 2, 2018
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2005: Fedor Emelianenko avenged his only ever career loss (at the time) by forcing a doctor’s stoppage against Tsuyoshi Kosaka at Pride Bushido 6. Kosaka had previously defeated Emelianenko on a technicality at Rings in 2000.
2009: Bellator held its first ever event, featuring quarterfinal bouts for both their lightweight and featherweight tournaments.
Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.
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