In August, UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez appeared on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney and made some disparaging remarks about Conor McGregor, saying, “Thank God he’s good at talking because he can’t fight for (bleep).”
Well, we’ll see if Alvarez was right. He’ll face McGregor at UFC 205 this Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
“I respect every man that makes the walk into that octagon – everyone,” Alvarez said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Sometimes I say things and I exaggerate some things so I can get them to sign the fight. We got that done. I got under his skin, and he signed the deal. Some things are a big exaggerated, some things are honestly how I feel. When I look at fighting, I don’t look at the skill. I look at the willingness to battle back from being in a bad situation, so when I say you can’t fight worth a (bleep), I’m actually saying you can’t deal with adversity well. You don’t deal with adversity well. I’m not saying you can’t throw punches, kicks, wrestle and do jiu-jitsu. So that’s where that’s coming from.”
In other words, when McGregor gets in trouble in the octagon, Alvarez senses quit. He believes McGregor just gives up.
“Exactly, exactly,” Alvarez said. “To me, that’s the essence of fighting. That’s why people tune in to see a fight. A fight is a struggle, to deal with adversity. To go in there and be dominant – be the dominant athlete or be dominant skill-wise and just take over a guy and dominate him – you didn’t actually fight, to me. The fight is where there’s some adversity. It took me 10 fights in my career to get into a fight, to ever get into a fight. I was my tenth fight in and I lost my first fight when I dealt with my first form of adversity. So it’s something that takes awhile to get used to.”
Alvarez, the lightweight champ, and McGregor, the featherweight champ, will be fighting at 155 pounds, which should benefit Alvarez.
“There’s pros and cons when you come up in weight,” Alvarez said. “The 45-pound weight class, the speed changes. Guys are a little bit faster at 45. So I feel like I’ve been at 55 for a way longer part of my career. I’m comfortable here, my body knows how to be here and react to the weight cut. I think the advantage would go to me experience-wise. I’m comfortable at 55, I know this is my weight, I know this is where I can be dominant and I think I purely have the advantage. . . . The bottom line is, he has some deep holes. Hopefully he’s fixed a few, but he has weaknesses, and we’re going to exploit those weaknesses and keep him guessing. We’re going to keep him guessing for 25 straight minutes, and somewhere within the realm of this fight, I’ll be able to finish.”
Indeed, for Alvarez, 32, this is personal.
“He brought up my family, saying that my wife and kids won’t recognize me,” Alvarez said. “I thought it was some words of desperation from a desperate man hanging at the end of his pitiful rope. But he was definitely trying to reach because family is something you don’t bring into this whole thing, and he went there. He’s going to pay for that. . . . I’m not rushing anything. I’m going to take my time. He recently said some things about my family. I have no rush. I’m going to be very patient in this execution.”
Overall, Alvarez is extremely excited for UFC 205, which will be the first UFC event hosted in New York City.
“Fans are coming out everywhere,” he said. ‘This event is breaking every record alive. You can definitely feel the aura, you can feel the greatness involved. Something big is about to go down on Saturday.”
In fact, Alvarez believes this will be the greatest event in UFC history.
“Without question,” Alvarez said. “Without question. Best ever. I think that’s what it’s going to break every record. The only record it’s not breaking is attendance because MSG just don’t hold as many like the Dome in Canada would. But it’s going to break the gate, it’s going to break the pay-per-view, it’s going to break everything. I think it’s the fighters on the card that do that. We have title fights, you got Frankie Edgar, Chris Weidman – it’s amazing the amount of quality they put on one card at one time.”