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Eddie Alvarez explains why he’s taking risk of going into final fight of UFC contract against Dustin Poirier

Eddie Alvarez has enough to worry about in Dustin Poirier, one of the best lightweight in the world. Their main event fight at UFC on FOX 30 this weekend in Calgary, Alberta could crown a future lightweight title contender.

Yet, there is something just as significant for Alvarez on Saturday in Canada. The fight with Poirier is the final one on his UFC contract and he could be headed to free agency. Alvarez told Luke Thomas on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he believes it’s well worth the gamble.

“I don’t think there’s any reason why not to — that’s why,” Alvarez said. “I haven’t been given any reason why not to. I guess that’s the best I can say. If I was given enough where I thought, ‘Hey, it’s not worth the risk,’ I’d say, ‘OK, I’m not gonna roll the dice here, this is very good, this is what I feel I’m worth and I’m just gonna keep going and going.’ But I haven’t really been given a good enough offer to not take the risk that I’m willing to take.”

Alvarez (29-5, 1 NC) is coming off a third-round knockout victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 218 last December in one of the most exciting fights of 2017. That’s not out of the ordinary for the Philadelphia native, who fancies himself as the “most violent” champion of the UFC. Alvarez also feels he has the résumé and big money fights, including a number of main events and his time as the lightweight champion, to warrant more money than he’s making now.

“I think we’d get a deal done for sure,” Alvarez said. “We’re just not there yet. I know with the UFC, you never know when you strike a deal. But I’m patient. I’ve learned to be patient, because in the past I’ve gotten ahead of myself and maybe left a lot of money on the table. I don’t know. I think what’s fair is fair and every fighter, it’s a very individual thing, how much each fighter deserves and should get paid. I think I bring a lot of value and when I fight I make this company a lot of money and I make a lot of fans excited. I want to be shared with a little bit more than what I’m being shared with. That’s all.”

How far apart are the UFC and Alvarez on a new contract? In the grand scheme of things, not too far, Alvarez said.

“I don’t believe it’s significant, no,” he said. “Considering how much the company makes, no. It’s peanuts — it’s a quarter. They’d be flicking me a quarter, considering what they make when I fight. What I’m asking for is not just what i feel I deserve right now. In the past eight fights, I look at who I fought — co-main and main events, some of the largest cards in UFC history. With the McGregor fight, sell out crowd, selling out MSG. I’ve been involved in some pretty lucrative and I feel like I should be shared with a little more considering. It is what it is. That’s business, man. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

If Alvarez can beat Poirier, it would put him close to another shot at the 155-pound title and it’ll also increase his leverage with the UFC. The last time the two fought, Alvarez landed illegal knees on Poirier and the fight was ruled a no contest at UFC 211 in May 2017.

It’s a big fight for Alvarez for several reasons. He said he has no problem compartmentalizing the in-Octagon action with the business aspects, though.

“Because I know how to separate things,” Alvarez said. “Fighting, they lock a door and I need to be focused for 25 minutes and that’s it. It’s foolish [to say], ‘Oh I have to be focused every single second of the day.’ That’s a very difficult thing to overcome. And I’ve done that when I was young. But I’ve learned when it’s time to be a father, I need to be a father; when it’s time to be a husband, I need to be a husband; when it’s time for me to fight, I need to fight.

“It’s a huge learning thing for me as a person — not just a fighter — to separate all of them. I wear a lot of hats and I’m not at the best at it, but I learn every day how to separate one from another and get into state when it’s time.”

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