When Tony Ferguson was forced out the UFC 223 main event with a freak injury, the UFC began a desperate search for a replacement opponent for Khabib Nurmagomedov. While they ultimately landed on UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway, there were a few other options on the table, including Brian Ortega and Eddie Alvarez.
Speaking during an Instagram Live video session on Monday night, Alvarez explained why he wasn’t able to accept a short-notice fight with Nurmagomedov.
“Me and my wife were getting ready for Easter and I got a call from Lloyd, my manager,” Alvarez said (via MMAFighting). “It was April first so just like you guys, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke. Then he told me Tony got hurt and when he told me how Tony got hurt, I really thought it was an April Fool’s joke, so I’m just as shocked and disappointed as you guys are.
“It would have been great to be ready for that fight and be ready to step in and save the day, but unfortunately, I am way, way too big to make the 155-pound limit on six days’ notice. I think most guys at 155, especially in the top five, can’t make that 155-pound limit on six days’ notice.”
Given that this marked the fourth time a scheduled Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov fight has been cancelled, Alvarez admitted he’s a little frustrated with himself for not being more ready in the event the fight was nixed again.
“I’ll be honest, I’m disappointed in myself a little bit because I kind of had the foresight to see this happening,” said Alvarez. “I even talked about it happening but when it got like three to four weeks out, I just said ‘F**k it, these guys are gonna fight. There’s really no reason for me to be ready.’
“I’m every bit of 190 right now so there wasn’t even a small chance that I could make 155. . . I asked about doing a catchweight at welterweight but all they asked me was what’s the lowest that I could get to. I’m probably a little more than 190. I’m heavier than I’ve ever been because I haven’t fought in a long time.”
While Alvarez wishes he had been ready, he also feels that taking a fight with Nurmagomedov on six days notice might not be the wisest choice.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take advantage of that opportunity, but to be honest with you, my real feelings on it is that Khabib is not the fighter that you take on six days’ notice,” said Alvarez. “In order to beat Khabib, you need to be conditioned, No. 1. He already poses a unique style but number one you have to be very, very well conditioned. Beating Khabib on six days’ notice is a very, very, tough, tough ask.”
Would you have preferred to see Eddie Alvarez fight Khabib Nurmagomedov?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/3/2018.