Eddie Alvarez already has his hands full with his next fight as he faces Dustin Poirier in the main event at UFC on FOX 30 but a win will undoubtedly put him that much closer to another shot at the lightweight title.
Of course, Alvarez has tasted UFC gold before but he believes he’s made some adjustments since a 2016 loss to Conor McGregor that would put that title back around his waist.
Right now, McGregor is no longer champion and instead it’s undefeated Russian wrecking machine Khabib Nurmagomedov who stands on top of the world at 155 pounds. Nurmagomedov got to the title with a suffocating style that typically employs a ton of takedowns and then absolutely mauling his opponents on the mat.
Thus far no one has been able to stifle Nurmagomedov’s grappling but Alvarez has long believed that he would be the kryptonite that would finally put a loss on the Russian’s record.
“I just feel people don’t know Eddie’s wrestling and jiu-jitsu is off the hook. I feel the one that would have the best chance, that lines up best with Khabib stylistically is definitely Eddie. Eddie’s not afraid of anything. Eddie could definitely defend the shot and his jiu-jitsu is off the hook,” Alvarez’s head coach Mark Henry told MMAWeekly about the potential matchup.
“Most of all, Eddie’s crazy. He’s out of his mind. That definitely counts for something. He’s a veteran and his game is getting better and better. I definitely think he lines up with Khabib better than anyone.”
Now Henry is the first to admit that he’s a fan of Nurmagomedov and what he’s done inside the Octagon. In fact, Henry lists Nurmagomedov and featherweight champion Max Holloway as his two favorite fighters outside of the laundry list of athletes who currently train under him in New Jersey.
A healthy respect for Nurmagomedov’s skills is what leads Henry to believe that Alvarez could present some real problems for him if they stepped into the Octagon together.
Obviously, Henry isn’t looking ahead at Nurmagomedov and somehow ignoring the fight with Poirier in July but it’s a subject that has been broached quite often in recent months.
The bottom line according to Henry is that Alvarez has a lot of tools that could negate Nurmagomedov’s best weapons. If that happens, Alvarez then has a huge offensive arsenal of his own that could do a lot of damage to Nurmagomedov over five rounds.
“His wrestling is great. Someone will shoot on him and sometimes he’ll be a little late on his defense and his hips are so good, even when he sees the shot and defends it late, his hips are so good. He’s so stocky and strong, it’s like hitting a brick wall sometimes going to shoot on him,” Henry said about Alvarez. “His wrestling defense is amazing. His jiu-jitsu is amazing.
“I’ve seen Eddie spar thousands of rounds and I’m not sure I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him on his back much less taken down much.”
It remains to be seen if the fantasy matchup will ever happen but Alvarez will be tough to deny a title shot should he get past Poirier in July at UFC on FOX 30.