Yes, as soon as the lightweight contest was booked several months back, a lot of folks added the fight to their mental, ‘can’t miss’ list. The reason being that both men are former lightweight champs, and both fighters have forged reputations over the years for being aggressive, rugged fighters, who aren’t strangers to outright wars.
Well, as UFC 218 nears, Alvarez was a guest on “The MMA Hour”, and the former Bellator and UFC champ had this to say about Saturday’s contest (quote via MMA Fighting):
“For me, this is the main event. For me, there is extra leverage going into this fight because I’ve beaten every single champion from almost every organization you can think of. From Shinya Aoki from Strikeforce to (Gilbert) Melendez to Pettis from UFC, then to Bellator, the list goes on and on.”
“This guy Justin Gaethje…one of the major organizations from not that long ago was World Series of Fighting. He held the belt, he was the captain of that organization and he flew that flag.
“For me, it’s another champion under my belt beaten and I’ve made a career out of doing that. I can’t fight for the UFC belt at the minute. I’m realistic and I’m not getting that shot just yet, so this is the next best thing.”
Yup. There’s a lot to love about this fight. No question. In addition to how both men fight, and their resumes, it’s also a pivotal bout for both. Alvarez needs a win to stay in the title shot mix, after he lost the 155 title to Conor McGregor last November.
For Gaethje, if he scores a win over Alvarez, then he’ll likely call for a title shot. Although he probably won’t get it, a win over a former champ would certainly put him in the conversation.
The official main event for UFC 218 is a contest between featherweight champ Max Holloway and former champ, Jose Aldo.
Saturday’s event will take place in Detroit, Michigan.