Alvarez was last in the Octagon back at #UFC205 when he faced Conor McGregor in the main event at the UFC’s first ever show in Madison Square Garden. Things didn’t go the way of Alvarez that evening, but his coach, #MarkHenry, knows better than anyone that in the fight game, that’s just the way it goes sometimes.
“Conor’s a great fighter and he [Eddie] got hit with a good shot,” Henry said, speaking exclusively to Champions.co. “Sometimes when you get hit with a good shot early on, and you’re rocked, there’s just nothing you can do about it. No matter how prepared you are or what gameplan you have, when you get rocked and dizzy it can just throw everything off. That’s it you know, that’s what happened. He got hit hard and it was early, really early. That’s what fighting is all about. Conor did a great job and he capitalized. Eddie just never got the opportunity to go what he wanted to do and what he’s good at.”
While some may have taken losing on a platform like that badly, Henry said that Alvarez bounced back quickly from his disappointment at UFC 205.
“It’s funny, the loss kind of came at a good time for him because he had so many other positive things going on in his life,” Henry said. “He’d just bought a new house, a really beautiful house outside of Philly. It was the holidays and he’s such a big family man. Him and his wife are such a great story and he’s got amazing kids who are really active in sports. They are the number one for Eddie, so it was around all that time. I’m sure that helped him a lot getting over the fight.”
Henry knows that Alvarez isn’t a man afraid of adversity. Having been through the ups and downs with him before, he knows that if anyone is going to bounce back from disappointment, it’s going to be Alvarez.
“Eddie’s got a fire lit under him, man,” Henry said. “He’s been through this all before—he was the Bellator champion and lost that belt, then won it back again. Then he was upset he lost to Cerrone, but then he came back with vengeance and became the UFC champion. He’s got that fire in his eyes and he’s ready to again. He’s training as good as I’ve ever seen him and despite him being in the game so long, I still see him getting better every day.”
With Alvarez back in the swing of things in the gym and mentally ready for UFC 211, Henry reiterated that the former UFC lightweight champion isn’t getting ahead of himself. Henry said that for the minute at least, Alvarez’s focus is purely on the challenge ahead and not on getting his title back.
“Sometimes you don’t look ahead too much—you just look at the fight that’s ahead of you,” Henry said. “That’s exactly what Eddie is doing, because Dustin is someone you need to pay full attention to. He’s an amazing fighter who’s done well at both 145 and 155. We even had him up helping Frankie [Edgar] for one of his fights with Henderson before. We know Dustin, we respect Dustin, and we always root for him when he fights. He’s a great fighter and a great family man also.”
While the fight ahead is the sole focus, that doesn’t mean that Henry has built the camp around Poirier and what he will bring to the table at UFC 211. Although highly respectful of the skills that Poirier has, Henry has built preparations around focusing on Alvarez himself and fine tuning all areas of his game.
“For this fight, we’ve really just concentrated a lot on Eddie,” Henry said. “This camp has been more about Eddie than anything else. As usual, Eddie’s really turning it up and camp has gone perfect for him. He’s doing really well and I think wherever this fight gets taken he’s going to be ready. Whether he needs to use his wrestling or his standup, both these guys can do both well. This is a huge task ahead of us, but Eddie’s got that fire underneath him, man. I’m really excited for this fight coming up for him.”
The countdown to UFC 211 is well and truly underway and this lightweight battle has all the makings for the "Fight of the Night."