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Dana White says Eddie Alvarez still welcome in UFC, but he’ll ‘absolutely understand’ if he leaves

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC president Dana White is fine with the idea of keeping Eddie Alvarez in the fold. But it also sounds like they’re not going to break the bank to keep him.

Alvarez, the former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion, took a gamble and accepted a UFC on FOX 30 main event with Dustin Poirier as the last fight on his contract without negotiating a new deal first. And while the match was spectacular, Alvarez ended up on the short end in Calgary, losing on a second-round TKO.

While the Philadelphia native has a well-earned reputation for creating excitement, he’ll also be 35 in January and has 36 professional fights under his belt. So if Alvarez can make a big score with a contract in another promotion, White says he isn’t going to stand in the way.

“I like Eddie Alvarez,” White said on the Unfiltered podcast. “I like him personally and I like him professionally and, you know, he’s at an age now where he needs to make some decisions for his family and for what will probably be the last contract he signs for the end of his career. I’m in a place where if Eddie wants to go somewhere else and try it I’m cool with that. If Eddie wants to stay, I’d keep him here, too.”

White said he’s talked with Alvarez since the Poirier fight, and said if Alvarez wants to stay with the UFC, they’re willing to try to make a deal work.

“I told him, listen, if you want to finish your career with me, I would like that, and if you want to finish your career with someone else, I have no problem with that either, man,” White said. “When guys get to the point where it’s the last contract they’ll ever sign, I understand.”

Alvarez has a 4-3 (1 NC) record in the UFC, with all eight fights coming against champions, former champions, and elite contenders. But he’s dropped two out of his past three official fights, and White believes that Alvarez needs to decide if he wants to make another run at the top or if he wants to cash out with one big final deal.

“At the end of the day what we’re looking for here are young guys who want to be world champions. Young guys who know they can be world champions in the UFC, or girls, who know they can be a world champion in the UFC. And if you feel you can’t be, and you feel there’s better decisions that you could make at this point in your career for the last contract you’ll ever sign, I absolutely understand that.”

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