UFC Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez grew up in the rough parts of Philadelphia, where fighting was a big part of his daily life, well before he ever stepped into the cage. But according to Alvarez, growing up in ‘Rocky’s’ neighborhood in Kensington is not without it’s merits.
“It was tough, tough neighborhood. That’s where Rocky was filmed, there are boxing gyms on every corner. It’s a fighting neighborhood,” Alvarez told Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com.
“If (Philadelphia) were the Lion King, this (neighborhood) would be the Elephant Graveyard,” the lightweight champ said. “This is where you don’t go, where the sun don’t shine.”
The Philly native said he lived in the rough and tumble section of North Philadelphia for almost 20 years, moving out when he was 21 to pursue a career in mixed martial arts. Alvarez began his career in Bellator, where he won the lightweight belt and engaged in two of the best fights in the promotion’s history against Michael Chandler before jumping ship to the UFC in 2014.
Alvarez did the unthinkable by finishing former champ Raphael Dos Anjos with strikes in the first round of their title fight in July, in a fight where he was a +265 underdog.
Growing up in the Kensington neighborhood in Philadelphia, Alvarez believes his upbringing there forged one of his greatest attributes.
“I think as a kid, if you grow up without a lot of resources, it forces you to become resourceful, which I think is my greatest attribute; to find light where there is none, to come from a dark place and still know I’m gonna come out on top.”