One of the best fights in the octagon last year was contested between former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and rising prospect Justin Gaethje. It is safe to say that it was not a fight but a war. In the end, Alvarez got his hand raised and also snapped away his undefeated streak. In a recent interview, Alvarez praised Gaethje and also gave his views on Gaethje and his next opponent Dustin Poirier.
Alvarez recently had a chat with MMA Junkie. In the interview he heaped high praise on Gaethje. He also claimed that while Poirier is more skilful, but Gaethje possesses a different edge to his game. Here’s what he had to say:
I’m not shocked at anything Justin Gaethje does, I actually went into that fight expecting complete chaos and exactly what it was, I spent some time with him on ‘TUF’ show. I got a good gauge on what type of person he is and how he likes to live his life and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.
I cross-train swimming, I enjoy swimming, so I know what it’s like to not be able to swim and try to get in a pool and swim laps, he damn near drowned during this event on the ‘TUF’ show. You didn’t get to see the whole thing, but he almost drowned in the pool.
But he finished the half a mile of swimming. Never being a swimmer, ever, in his life. Which I was like, ‘Holy (expletive), I would never.’ I think the first time I went in the pool, I did a lap and I passed out.
I said to him that, ‘You swim like you fight’, like, he’s 100 miles an hour, he has no pace. And he said, ‘Well, I didn’t learn a thing,’ like, ‘The swimming did nothing. I’m still going to fight exactly the same way I fight.’ That’s the kind of guy he is, that’s the kind of way he lives and I respect that.”
I think it’s no question that Dustin Poirier is a more skilled fighter than Justin Gaethje, that’s safe to say. I think everybody in this room would agree with that, skill-wise. But Justin has the intangibles. And, at no time in the ring, when I was beating Justin, no matter how hard I was hitting him, did I feel like he was accepting defeat. Not at any point.
You can read the full interview here.