EXCLUSIVE | Eddie Alvarez reacts to news of ONE Championship Lightweight Grand Prix

Eddie Alvarez

ONE Champion is welcoming Eddie Alvarez to its roster in style, having recently announced that the former UFC and Bellator lightweight titleholder will make his promotional debut as part of a wild, eight-man Lightweight Grand Prix.

Like most combat sports fans, Eddie Alvarez was thrilled to learn about this upcoming tournament.

“I had the same reaction you guys did,” Alvarez told BJPENN.COM at Thursday’s Global Martial Arts Summit in Singapore. “I’ve been a tournament fighter my whole life. I heard it for the first time when you guys heard it [at Wednesday’s ONE: HEART OF THE LION press conference in Singapore]. I’m excited. I’ve never lost a fight tournament.”

As Alvarez suggests, MMA tournaments are concept he’s very familiar with. While it’s been years since he’s competed in one, he has done so previously under the DREAM and Bellator banners.

Apparently, he’s missed it.

“I think there’s an amount of integrity involved in mixed martial arts, and that’s taken away when guys are marketable,” he said. “A guy who’s more marketable may get an opportunity before a guy who is a better fighter but is not as marketable. This is the best way to truly find out who is the best lightweight division.”

Eddie Alvarez is likely to be joined in this tournament by ONE Championship lightweights stars such as Shinya Aoki, Timofey Nastyukhin, Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev, and the loser of the upcoming lightweight title fight between Amir Khan and Eduard Folayang.

When asked which if any of these fighters he’d like to fight in the tournament’s first round, he assured his priority is to fight whoever the combat sports community considers the most dangerous matchup for him. It is when the odds are stacked against him and the risk is high, he explained, that he is at his very best.

“[I want to fight] the most dangerous guy,” he said. “Whoever makes me the most nervous.”

“I don’t know the opponents very well to be honest,” he added. “It’s something I’ll look into. Whoever the fans and media consider the most dangerous guy — I’m not saying this because I want to be the big, tough, strong guy — I know I get nervous and afraid, and when I get afraid, very good things happen inside the cage. So I look forward to being nervous and afraid, and ONE Championship pitting against somebody very dangerous.”

Another interesting detail of Alvarez’s move to ONE Championship is that it means he’ll once again have the opportunity to fight in the ring, as the promotion uses both ring and cage enclosures. Showcasing just the kind of anyone, anywhere, anytime attitude that fans have come to adore him for, however, he says it really doesn’t matter where the fight takes place.

“I’ll do it anywhere,” he said. “You guys want to do it in an alley, a ring, a bathroom… You guys name the location and I’ll be there.”

Do you think Eddie Alvarez will win ONE Championship’s anticipated Lightweight Grand Prix?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/8/2018.