After losing in March for the first time in more than five years, Conor McGregor will get a rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 202 in Las Vegas on Aug. 20.
UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez isn’t afraid of either fighter – especially not McGregor.
“I don’t know him personally, but thank God he’s good at talking because he can’t fight for (expletive),” Alvarez said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Look, in this sport – the good thing about the UFC and MMA in general is a lot of it’s based on perception. They’re very good at tweaking this perception. If I can put the right guy with the right mouthpiece in front of the right opponents, we can build a champion, but he doesn’t really have to beat the best guys; we just have to give him the right match-ups. This is what this guy’s been given. Any real fighter, anybody who knows the sport of MMA, sees the style match-ups that he picks and understands this guy is not putting himself in any danger. He’s not fighting anyone who he feels he can lose to.”
Those are strong words from Alvarez (28-4), but would he change his tune if McGregor – who has beaten Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes, among others – beat Diaz handily?
“I don’t think he does, but if he does, then my hat’s off to him,” Alvarez said. “But Diaz is a great style matchup for him. The reason he originally picked Diaz is he believed that was a great style matchup for him because Diaz only punches, he don’t kick, he don’t take down – he does everything Conor wants to do. Conor wants to box. He don’t want to be involved in the sport of MMA.”
Alvarez has a tremendous amount of respect for fighters like Robbie Lawler and Georges St-Pierre, guys who have had great success and who do it “the right way.” With McGregor, however, Alvarez sees more mouth skills than fighting skills.
“(There’s a) huge difference between ability and marketability,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys out there who have the ability and they’re incredible and they’ll kill anyone in their path – but they’ll never make a dollar because they’re just not marketable.”
Alvarez, 32, will likely face the winner of McGregor/Diaz at Madison Square Garden in November. He’d like to fight McGregor, but he doesn’t think McGregor will beat Diaz.
“That would be incredible, but I think he’s going to get deflated,” Alvarez said. “He might trip over his own shoelaces again.”