In the main event of UFC 202, Conor McGregor defeated Nate Diaz by majority decision. Having evened the score in his bizarre, welterweight rivalry with the Stockton fighter, McGregor then set his sights on the division he’s most suited for: lightweight.
Given McGregor’s transcendent superstardom, a trip to the lightweight division would almost certainly result in an immediate title shot against reigning champion Eddie Alvarez. In a recent walk-and-talk interview with Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, Alvarez discussed this potential showdown.
“I’m the champion,” Alvarez said of the potential matchup. “I have the title. People want what I have. I’m not begging for anything from anybody. If this guy wants this title, he can come get it.”
The champ explained that his willingness to fight McGregor, who has won 6 of his 9 UFC bouts by knockout, comes down to a belief that the Irishman is not as good as the world believes.
“In a sparring room there’s always a guy, we call him the rest round,” Alvarez explained. “[McGregor would be] the rest round. He’s the guy you grab when you’re super tired and you go, ‘Hey, c’mon man, let’s do a round.’
Given these views, it should come as no surprise that Alvarez is confident he’d dominate McGregor – though he knows he would leave a lot of people disappointed if he did.
“I feel like if this fight is signed and it happens, I feel like I’m about to tell the whole world that there’s no Santa Claus,” the lightweight champion told Helwani. “And everybody is gonna be disappointed. There’s no Santa Claus. He don’t exist. It was a lie and I’m gonna steal the magic from everyone. The magic is gone. And I can’t wait. It’s gonna be a great time for me.”
As confident he would be in a potential showdown with McGregor, however, Alvarez also expressed doubts that the fight will actually happen. He believes McGregor and his team understand the risks associated with this prospective challenge, and will avoid it as a result.
“This game is changing. I’m watching it change,” Alvarez said. “Because the business is coming before the sport now, the perception is becoming more important than what really is. This is why I said I don’t think they’ll take the fight. If the perception is the most important, then you don’t try to beat the best guy in the world. You don’t go after me. You go after the guy who looks like the best guy in the world, but really isn’t.”
Alvarez, 32, won the lightweight title in July by walloping former champion Rafael Dos Anjos. Though the Philly native is not especially complimentary of McGregor, he’d probably make more money in a fight with the Irishman than he ever has before – a perk he’s certainly considered.
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