“I want to be someone so I have some sort of leverage. I don’t want to be the next disposable 155-pounder who can be thrown out the window if he has a loss or two. I want to make myself indispensable and make a name for myself before I ever negotiate with a company like [the UFC]… I’m one of the top paid 155ers in the world. I don’t know if anybody knows that, but now you do… I can’t tell my three kids, ‘Hey, daddy’s going to take a shot and take a risk and take a paycut and hopefully I make it. It’s got to be more than that for me. I got to secure myself and secure my family… I’m going to do the right thing to become No. 1. That’s one of my main concern, but it’s also to protect my financial security with my family too.”
— Eddie Alvarez explaining to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour why he’s hesitant to pursue a contract with the UFC
Eddie Alvarez has found himself in quite the predicament. With the UFC-Strikeforce buyout, he’s arguably the world’s top lightweight not under the Zuffa umbrella. While that’s a position I’m sure thousands of unknown lightweights would like to be in, he has nowhere to go but down as long as he’s under contract with Bellator. On the other hand, he’s got a great thing going for himself as Bellator’s poster boy. He gets to fight inferior opponents for great pay. I’m sure that’s difficult to walk away from, but if he truly wants to be the number one lightweight in the world, he’s going to have to go all in and fight the world’s best in the UFC. The potential for even bigger paydays are there, but like he says, it is a risk.
Given Eddie’s balls-out fighting style though, I think it’s ultimately a risk worth taking for him. Win or lose, he’s exactly the type of fighter Dana White loves and thus the type of fighter UFC officials give plenty of chances to. Case in point: Dan Hardy.
Really, it comes down to one simple question: What’s more important? Money or legacy? In only one organization can he have both.