For the longest time, the decorated Eddie Alvarez has maintained that he has the style to hand Khabib Nurmagomedov his first professional loss. Ultimately the pairing failed to ever come to fruition, with Khabib retiring from professional mixed martial arts while Alvarez now plys his trade in Singapore at ONE Championship.
Whilst we have never seen the two lightweight icons stand-opposite each other, Alvarez isn’t necessarily feeling sombre about that fact, wishing the undefeated UFC lightweight champion the best with his retirement.
Submitting common-foe, Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi, UAE last October, Khabib cited the sad passing of his father, Abdulmanap as his reasoning for announcing a somewhat shocking retirement immediately after successfully unifying the lightweight titles.
In the months since, UFC president, Dana White has consistently and transparently attempted to convince Khabib to make a retirement ‘u-turn’ in a bid for one final fight. Prior to UFC 257 in January, footage emerged of White openly floating potential pay-per-view numbers with Khabib if he were to return in a bad-blooded rematch with Conor McGregor — prior to the Dubliner’s knockout loss to Dustin Poirier on ‘Fight Island’.
Speaking with LowKick MMA reporter, Jordan Ellis recently, Alvarez touched on the retirement stance of Khabib — claiming he was happy to see him ride off into the sunset with his wallet full and at “peace” with himself.
“Good on him (Khabib Nurmagomedov) man, good on him,” Alvarez said. “This is a dangerous life. It’s a stressful life. You know, I’ve been fighting since I was 19-years-old, I’m 37(-years-old now). When someone could be at peace with themselves and make the money he has, and get out of the danger of the sport, and the stress of the sport — I think it makes for a really good, really good situation.“
“My hat’s off to him, you know,” Alvarez said. “Not many people leave this sport wealthy, healthy, and intact — and have peace, you know. I feel like he’s one of the few guys who are going to be able to do that.“
Preparing for his own comeback, the Philidelphia favourite has yet to feature in active-competition since August of 2019 where he took a first round rear-naked choke victory over former two-time ONE Championship lightweight titleholder, Eduard Folayang.
Slated to return on April 7th. at ONE on TNT I — Alvarez matches up with one-time ONE Championship title challenger, Iuri Lapicus in a potential title-eliminator, beneath a rescheduled flyweight championship clash between incumbent gold holder, Adriano Martins and fellow former UFC titleholder, Demetrious Johnson.
An eighteen-year professional, Alvarez has struck gold across the UFC, Bellator, and BodogFIGHT — with the likes of Tatsuya Kawajiri, Toby Imada, Josh Neer, Roger Huerta, Pat Curran, Shinya Aoki, Patricky Freire, Michael Chandler, Gilbert Melendez, Anthony Pettis, Rafael dos Anjos, and the above mentioned Gaethje littered on a star-studded professional résumé.