Former Champion Wants to Return to UFC & Finish Trilogy With Rival

Eddie Alvarez & Conor McGregor

Getty Eddie Alvarez & Conor McGregor

Former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez wants to return to the UFC and fight Michael Chandler in a trilogy bout.

Alvarez (30-8, 2 N/C) and Chandler met twice for the Bellator 155-pound championship, fighting in 2011 and 2013. Chandler won the first affair via fourth-round rear-naked choke at Bellator 58, snatching “The Underground King’s” belt.

After Alvarez rattled off two victories, he found himself fighting “Iron” again. And this time, Alvarez would leave the cage as champion, beating Chandler by split decision at Bellator 106. The meetings are viewed as two of the best title fights in the promotion’s history.

Well, fast forward nearly 10 years and Chandler (23-7) and Alvarez never closed out the trilogy as both men took different paths. The Underground King moved onto the UFC after beating Chandler where he’d compete eight times and win the title. Chandler stayed in Bellator until 2021 when he transitioned to the UFC. And by that time, Alvarez was fighting for ONE.

Alvarez was featured on “The MMA Hour” this week and he spoke with Ariel Helwani about his becoming a free agent. The Underground King revealed that he and ONE decided to part ways after his four-fight stint, and that he wanted to return to the UFC to finish his illustrious mixed martial arts career.

Alvarez Wants the Chandler Trilogy, But Won’t Take a Financial Hit to Receive It

For the 38-year-old combatant, fighting Chandler again is high on his priority list. But, he’s not willing to take a financial hit to pursue the match.

“In a perfect world, [the UFC] is where I’d end up,” Alvarez said (h/t “Fans would love to see a Mike Chandler three fight, right? That’s kind of what I’ve gotten on my Twitter, Instagram, and everything. Everybody wants to see that fight. It would be great, that would be amazing.”

“I would want to fulfill that for people, and I’d like to say ‘Hey, this is for you guys. Let’s do it, let’s make it happen,’ he continued. “My issue is, you have to take so much less than all the other bidders. I want to make that [fight] happen, but I don’t want to kill myself either. For the fans that are watching, I hear you, I want to make the big fights you want to see, but I can’t take half of what everyone else is offering.”

Alvarez Wants to Finish His MMA Career in the United States

Alvarez explained to Helwani why he was a free agent, saying that although he still had fights left on his ONE contract, he and the Asian promotion decided to split up.

“The contract was coming to an end, and I spoke with my agent and I told him, ‘I would like my career to finish up in the United States.’ And when we originally sat down with ONE, the idea was that [they] would progressively move to the U.S.,” Alvarez said (h/t MMA Fighting). “The plan was to have fights in Asia, and then my idea in my head was I would start in Asia, and towards the end of my contract, we would move closer to the U.S. and eventually get a fight there.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic threw a wrench into all of those plans and slowed the progression of that up by a lot.

“I’m going to more than likely be signing my last contract, and I just want to be fighting here in the United States,” The Underground King continued. “I really want and need to fight in the United States to finish my career here.”

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