If you're a newer fan in MMA and planning to tune in to the Conor McGregor show this Saturday at UFC 205, you may have been surprised to learn that the Irishman will actually have an opponent to face and beat at the Madison Square Garden if he wants to make history. Much attention has been given to how the featherweight champ is vying for lightweight gold in New York City, this weekend, but not nearly as much focus has been placed on the reigning champion, who he'll have to beat in order to be the first two-weight UFC champion in history.
Make no mistake about it, Conor McGregor is the challenger, this Saturday. The champion is a lil 'ole underground king named Eddie Alvarez, and this writer considers him the favorite in the match-up.
So, you may be wondering, who the heck is this Eddie Alvarez? Here at Champions, we're here to help.
Eddie Alvarez is one of the most exciting fighters in all of MMA
In 32 career pro MMA fights, the slugger out of Philadelphia has only gone to a decision seven times. Alvarez is a power-punching, flying-knee throwing, offensive-minded human highlight reel.
The UFC's lightweight champion is action, personified, in the ring or cage. No matter how many times he's hit, he's always just one punch combo away from victory, as he demonstrated last July when he scored a TKO victory over then-champion Rafael Dos Anjos (video above).
For more of a sampling of the sporting violence Alvarez is capable, take a look at highlights (below) of his two Bellator title fights with Michael Chandler.
Alvarez vs. Chandler I
Alvarez vs. Chandler II
Eddie Alvarez is one of the most accomplished, experienced international fighters in the sport, today
Alvarez's pro MMA career goes back 13 years, to when he was still a teenager. His fistic adventuring took him all over the globe, long before he ever finally made it into the UFC. Alvarez has fought once, professionally, for every year he's been alive, and in more countries than most fighters ever will - from the U.S. to Canada to Costa Rica, and Japan.
Through all those years and contests, Alvarez almost always took on the best of the best. By the time he made his UFC debut in 2014, he had already faced a death's row of top lightweight killers.
It was no wonder why the UFC fought so hard in court, alongside Alvarez, to get him free from his Bellator contract and fighting in their promotion. He was a star-in-waiting, and now he's the world champion.
Eddie Alvarez is a longtime training partner of former lightweight world champion Frankie Edgar
Frankie "The Answer" Edgar will go down in MMA history as one of the very best, ever, pound-for-pound. Sparring with Alvarez helped him get as good as he is.
The two were reunited in recent years after some time apart when Alvarez left the North for some years with South Florida's Blackzilians team. Alvarez won gold with boxing coach Mark Henry - Edgar's coach - and the two speedy wrestler-turned-strikers have enjoyed training and fighting alongside one another, again.
Eddie Alvarez is a reality TV hero
Back when pro fighter Jason "Mayhem" Miller hosted MTV's Bully Beatdown, the show was one of the few reality TV programs in America with any redeeming value. Victims of bullies were given advocates in the form of pro fighters, and bullies were lured in with the chance to win money fighting those experts, but usually just limped out after eating humble pie and a lot of fists.
Miller brought in a bunch of fantastic fighters who defended victims of bullying in the cage, but Eddie Alvarez may own the most impressive performance in the show's history (video above). Check it out for yourself.
Alvarez earns the bully victims $10,000 by landing submission after submission and leg kick after leg kick. He even landed a Peruvian neck-tie, and a flying omoplata shoulder lock (which I've never seen elsewhere).
Oh, and he also took less than 30 seconds to knock out the bodybuilding bully...and didn't need a single punch to do it. Wow.
Alright, now you're ready for UFC 205. So, if one of your friends asks you who the dude that McGregor is fighting Saturday, shoot them a link to this story, and then watch Alvarez try to prove that he's ready to move from Underground King to mainstream star.