by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
As Bellator Fighting Championships readies to make its Season 2 debut in 2010, one of the marquee names on its roster happens to be lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. The Philadelphia native was just announced as a headliner for an upcoming super fight in May against former UFC slugger Josh Neer at a catchweight of 160 pounds.
For the last few years, Alvarez has been splitting time living in the U.S. and fighting in Japan, but now it looks like his eyes are focused on fighting closer to home and promoting Bellator.
Speaking with MMAWeekly Radio recently, Alvarez talked about his deal with Dream and his future with Bellator.
“(Katsunori Kikuno) was my last fight with Dream under my contract. I’m still on very good terms with Dream. I love them guys over there, but my obligations are with Bellator now,” said Alvarez. “I want to help build the brand of Bellator and now that they have a major network here in the United States, I’m excited about it.”
Fighting more often in his home country is something Alvarez has longed for since breaking into Dream over the last few years. He was scheduled to compete for the EliteXC lightweight title in November 2008, but the promotion went belly up and he had to find a new home again.
With a third child on the way, he says it’s important to be close to home and he’s ready to let the American fans know what they’ve been missing.
“I’ll be able to build myself here in the United States and showcase my talents to the American audience,” Alvarez commented. “It’s cool to go over to Japan and get the love I get, but this is where I live and I’d like to have my career here as well.”
The former Bodog champion confirmed that the fight against Neer in May will be his next scheduled bout. About six weeks ago, Alvarez says he had minor surgery to repair a torn meniscus, but he’s a week away from returning to full time training.
As for the fight with Neer, many fans were disgruntled to hear that the bout would be contested at a catchweight with Alvarez’s lightweight title not being on the line. The champion says that falls back on his opponent, and he believes even if the fight had been at 155 pounds, the title wasn’t set to be defended anyways.
“That was Josh. I fight at 155. I don’t fight at catchweight or anything like that, but I’d rather be able to get a fight at 160, rather than stay at 155 and be stubborn and then not have no one to fight,” Alvarez said. “They wanted to go to 160, and I wanted to fight.
“I didn’t think they were going to make it a title fight anyway. That’s the promotion’s deal. I don’t deal with that. I just tell them to get me guys to fight.”
The Bellator lightweight champ will start his camp for the upcoming May fight soon in his hometown of Philadelphia, and looks forward to staying busy in 2010.