Eddie Alvarez is one of the most dominant fighters in mixed martial arts history, but he’s yet to challenge for a ONE Championship World Title.
The American star could take a big step toward that goal on 7 April when he battles #2-ranked lightweight contender Iuri Lapicus in the co-main event of “ONE on TNT I,” which will broadcast live in the United States.
Should he beat a former ONE World Title challenger in Lapicus, Alvarez could find himself standing across the Circle from current lightweight king Christian “The Warrior” Lee if the latter defends his belt against Timofey Nastyukhin a week later at “ONE on TNT II.”
“When I get shots at World Titles, I win them. That’s what I’ve done my whole career. That’s what I get up for. That excites me. It gets me up early and makes me go to bed late. I’ve done it for the past two decades, all over the world,” Alvarez said.
“I think that everyone involved knows that if I fight Christian, I’m going to beat him.
“Maybe it’s better he keeps the belt and fights other opponents other than myself because if I get a shot at the World Title, I’m going to win.”
Of course, it won’t be easy to get past Lapicus, who’s proven to be very talented despite having less career experience.
“Sometimes being inexperienced is a power in itself because you’re not riddled with thought and experiences of the past, so you can compete at a high level without thinking too much. But there’s also a downfall to it,” Alvarez said.
“I’m looking forward to testing that, exploiting his weaknesses, and, at the end of the day, executing at a high level and showing why I’m the best lightweight in this division and why I deserve the World Title. That’s what I do. I eliminate my opponent.”
Alvarez won’t only have Lapicus to contend with come 7 April. The occasion will take on extra meaning as the first ONE card to air on prime-time U.S. television.
Despite a bit of extra pressure, “The Underground King” vows to make it a battle for the ages.
“More than anything, I want to show the American audience how strong and powerful ONE Championship can be,” Alvarez said.
“After seeing their shows in Asia and being a part of their shows in Asia, I knew it was just a matter of time before they came here where they explode, and they catch on pretty quickly. I’m glad to be a part of what I think is just the beginning of ONE Championship here in America.
“To me, right now, this fight means everything. You know, it is everything I envisioned.”