“We say that me & Frankie are both No. 1 in the world. There’s no conflict of interest. We have different goals. Frankie wants to be No. 1 in his promotion, the UFC. I want to be No. 1 in the world outside of the UFC. No. 1 out of all the other promotions. So we have no conflicting goals. We’re taking ourselves and separating ourselves from the pack. You’re going to have a whole lot of 155-pounders at one level, and we’re pushing each other to separate ourselves from the rest of them. As long as I’m not in UFC and going for the gold, and he’s not outside of the UFC, there’s no conflict of interest at all… I wouldn’t have a problem fighting Frankie, and I don’t think Frankie would have a problem fighting me. We fight each other every week, make each other better every week. If it came down to it and Dana [White] said, ‘Frankie we need you to fight this guy’, do I think Frankie would do it? I think Frankie would be for it and I’d be for it as long as the money was there. But I’m never going to say, ‘Frankie, I want your spot, I want your job.’ And I hope he never says that to me. There’s a ton of other guys out there for me to prove myself against.”

—Eddie Alvarez talking to MMA Fighting about training with UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar

I’ve always been a big fan of Eddie Alvarez’s, but the one knock on him is he hasn’t fought any top ranked opponents in recent years. Eddie may have the talent to be the top lightweight in the world, but there’s no objective way to measure that when he’s fighting relatively unknown names in Bellator. You have to give Eddie and Bellator credit for trying to put together a fight with Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez last year, but ultimately it didn’t come together. Unfortunately, we’ll never know just how good Eddie Alvarez is while he fights lesser competition in Bellator. And from every indication, he’s more than satisfied with his place there and doesn’t have any plans to leave.

It’s disappointing, but at least he seems to be approaching the high risk/low reward fights with the right attitude.

“When I think about it, the anxiety in me increases, and when that happens, I can’t stand still, I can’t get out of the gym. I’m up early, I’m home late. My anxiety increases because I can’t have a guy that is not well known take my name, take my spot. It sounds weird. People think you don’t have to be worried about this guy. No, on the contrary, you better be f—— worried for this guy because this is the guy who can completely erase you from the rankings and take your name in the blink of an eye and in one fight. That fire’s there. That fear is there like it’s never been against guys like this.”

It’s too bad we can’t see the fire and flare Eddie brings to the cage in fights that actually mean something. I’d probably pick Eddie to beat Gilbert Melendez and Frankie Edgar. I just wish I had the opportunity to do so.

Image via Bellator