Ex-UFC Champ Chasing Gold: ‘All I’m Fixated On’

Eddie Alvarez

Getty Eddie Alvarez reacts to the crowd after his UFC 205 Open Workouts at Madison Square Garden on November 9, 2016 in New York City.

If he earns the ONE Championship lightweight title, Eddie Alvarez will secure his third title in a major promotion.

Alvarez (30-7), who is a former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion, is set for his third fight in ONE. He competes during ONE on TNT 1 on April 7 against Iuri Lapicus (14-1).

Eddie Alvarez

GettyEddie Alvarez participates in a media workout at UFC Gym on January 15, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Should Alvarez topple the No. 2-ranked ONE lightweight, he will set himself up for a possible title fight against the winner of champ Christian Lee vs. Timofey Nastyukhin. Lee and Nastyukhin are scheduled to fight on April 14 at ONE on TNT 2.

In a recent interview with Heavy, Alvarez gave his thoughts on fighting Lapicus. Lapicus is coming off the first loss of his professional career, dropping his title bid against Lee via first-round TKO in October.

“There’s not a ton of tape but I got to see him fight Christian Lee for a couple minutes there, and then we got to see him fight some Russian (Marat Gafurov) before,” Alvarez said. “I know his background is Judo.

“I can see kind of fundamentally what he is about. I’m going to go in there, feel him out, be instinctual. You never get through a fight with plan A anyway, so if we got to go to plan B, plan C, no big deal.”

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Alvarez Is ‘Fixated’ on the ONE Lightweight Belt, Expects Title Fight With Victory Over Lapicus

Alvarez had a rough start to his ONE run, losing his first fight to Nastyukhin via first-round TKO in March 2019. He bounced back four months later by defeating former ONE lightweight king Eduard Folayang by first-round rear-naked choke. Bolstered by a resume filled with high-profile victories, including wins over the likes of Justin Gaethje and Rafael dos Anjos, Alvarez believes defeating Lapicus will set himself up for a chance at ONE gold.

“I just beat the former champion on my last outing, so moving on up to No. 2, beat the No. 2 guy, and then I’ll challenge for a title,” Alvarez said.

“I’m just looking forward to continuing to progress and it’s gonna start with him. But at the end of the day, it’s just about me improving, me getting better and me getting closer to that world title.”

After the Lapicus fight on Wednesday, watching the matchup between Lee and Nastyukhin will be a high priority for “The Underground King.” At the end of the day, Alvarez is more focused on earning the belt than fighting a particular opponent. But, winning it by avenging his loss to Nastyukhin is enticing to Alvarez.

“Whoever holds that world title in their hand,” Alvarez said. “A rematch with Timofey would be great for the world title.”

“Either way, my eyes are on the prize. That’s all I’m fixated on, getting that belt around my waist.”

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ONE’s Lightweight Division Is Contested 15-Pounds Heavier Than UFC’s, Bellator’s

ONE has implemented a hydration policy with its athletes to help eliminate weight cutting. As per the guidelines, fighters have to regularly submit their walking-around weight, as well as their daily training weight. With the information, fighters are then assigned a weight class and “are not allowed to drop a weight class less than eight weeks out from an event.”

ONE randomly checks a fighter’s weight and during fight week, “weights are checked daily. Urine specific gravity will also be checked the day after arrival and three hours prior to the event.”

If a fighter’s weight falls out of the divisional range, they will be disqualified from their fight.

That being said, typically lightweight in MMA is 146 to 155 pounds. However, ONE’s lightweight division is 156 to 170 pounds. It will be Alvarez’s first bout in 20 months and he’s taken the time to adjust his body even more to his new weight.

“I’m big fan of it,” Alvarez said of ONE’s policy. “I just had to adjust because I’m a smaller guy, I’m not big for the weight class. But it took me time to kind of fill my body out, I used to cut to ’55 all the time. So taking a year and a half not cutting to ’55 allowed my body to build some muscle and get some size and get used to fighting with that size.”

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