With more than 13 years as a professional fighter under his belt, Eddie Alvarez knows all there is to know about facing adversity and coming back from it. So on Saturday’s UFC 211 card in Dallas, the former UFC lightweight champion will begin the road back against Dustin Poirier.
It’s his first fight since he lost his title to Conor McGregor last November, and for Alvarez, that’s just part of the gig. You win some, you lose some, like everybody else, but the greats are the ones that come back better from those defeats.
That’s the business the Philadelphian is in. But how does he explain a loss to his four children?
“This is the most important part when you have children, because a kid’s life growing up is gonna be full of disappointments,” Alvarez said. “And I think one of the main things, as a dad to my children, is to get them ready for disappointment and to get them to embrace it and understand that it’s gonna be part of their journey to become their ultimate self. So rather than fear it or run from it or neglect it, embrace it and make yourself vulnerable over and over and over and you’ll be able to find your greatness in doing that.”
It’s clear that Alvarez has not been defeated by the loss of his title. Despite getting halted by McGregor at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden, he has taken the positives from the lead-up to the fight and moved on. And even though it looked like his desire to defeat the Irishman took him to a place he had never been to before, he admits now that he actually enjoyed the whole circus around the bout.
“My feelings were genuine leading up to the fight, but I’d be lying if I said I wanted to beat him up more than any other opponent,” Alvarez said. “That would be a lie. Every opponent, I don’t distinguish them like, ‘I don’t like this guy’ or something like that. It’s just that the lead-up to his fights are more fun and more exciting than the lead-up to other fights, if I can say anything about it. I enjoyed myself going into that fight.”
The result wasn’t what he was hoping for, but the beauty of this sport is that there’s always another fight and a chance to get back in the race. And when asked if he’s enjoying the lead-up to the Poirier bout, he laughs.
So if there’s pressure on the 33-year-old to win spectacularly and then call for a shot at regaining his crown, Alvarez isn’t feeling it. He’s not that guy, and this attitude isn’t a product of him looking at the sport simply as a way to put food on the table for his family.
“The food on the table thing is a little weird for me,” he said. “People say that and there are plenty other ways to feed your family a little bit more efficiently. (Laughs) This way is a selfish thing for me. It’s something I love to do.”
That love hasn’t waned in the days after Nov. 12, 2016. Why?
“I’m a hunter by nature, and after winning the title, it’s like I was hunting for this belt, obsessed about this belt,” he explains. “Then I got it, and I neglected to make more goals for myself to get excited about and achieve. Now is the chance to do that. I can relax, the light isn’t so bright and I can be myself and rewrite some new goals and have some fun.”
Eddie Alvarez relaxing? Is this the same guy running on the Monday of fight week while doing this interview?
“This is me, relaxing,” he laughs.