Eddie ‘The Underground King’ Alvarez has announced by video in the early hours of this morning that he has signed for ONE Championship, the leading MMA promotion in Asia.
He will be leaving the UFC as their #4 ranked Lightweight contender and with it the opportunity to fight amongst one of the deepest divisions in the UFC today. Matchups with Kevin Lee (#5), Edson Barboza (#6), Nate Diaz (#10) could have been on the cards – or even a rematch with Anthony Pettis (#8) would have put him back in the conversation for title contention. Though after a less than lucky past few years, it’s understandable why he might want a fresh start.
He lost his lightweight title to Conor McGregor (#2) at UFC 205 in New York, the record-setting PPV event and the largest fight of his career – and two fights with Dustin Poirier failed to produce victories after a No Contest due to an illegal knee on his part (in a fight that he was arguably winning until then) and a TKO loss in their rematch. But don’t forget his sensational fight with Justin Gaithje (#7) winning after three brutal rounds by knee KO proving that Alvarez might not be on the unlucky streak that he thinks he is.
Given that Alvarez has held the lightweight championship belt in the UFC and twice in Bellator it is not unthinkable for him to make a real impact in ONE. Current #3 contender Ev Ting could make an interesting first fight – Ting has only lost two fights since 2016 and those were to the current top contenders #2 Shinya Aoki (42-8) and #1 Eduard ‘Landslide’ Folayang (20-6), so a victory against him would be a real statement on Eddie’s part and help him get a crack at the belt which, according to the ONE Championship official website, is not currently being held by anyone.
This is a high profile signing for ONE and represents a real opportunity to create a crossover star attracting new viewers from the western market.
Please join me in welcoming Eddie Alvarez to @ONEChampionship! I am super excited for our fans to witness Eddie's high octane, explosive dynamite KO style. Stay tuned for more big news! @Ealvarezfight pic.twitter.com/bM3K0COlie
— Chatri Sityodtong (@yodchatri) October 16, 2018