Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez is itching to get back and earn a win in his next bout against former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang at ONE: Dawn Of Heroes on 2 August at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Folayang, who is well-versed in the art of Wushu, offers Alvarez a new look. “The Underground King” says that taking on a different breed of martial artist such as Folayang, however, doesn’t faze him one bit.
“He’s incredibly tough, incredibly durable. I understand the power of Wushu, because [some of] the guys I train with, Zabit [Magomedsharipov] and a lot of the Russians that come over to spar with us in [New] Jersey, they’re all from a Wushu background,” said Alvarez.
“So the art is for real, it applies very well to MMA. And I’m looking forward to the toughest Eduard Folayang.
“It’s in his hometown. So I’m looking forward to a tough opponent and I’m viewing the fight as one that I absolutely have to finish. I am not coming in for a decision. I expect to lose if it goes to a decision. So I have every intention to finish,” he explained.
Alvarez is moving on from a shocking defeat he suffered in his ONE Championship debut at the hands of Timofey Nastyukhin at ONE: A New Era. He wants to bounce back from that loss and prove people wrong.
“I’m excited. This match-up, in particular, I feel like this guy’s such a hard-nosed, tough fighter. This could be a Fight of the Year. Just my attitude and my mentality going into the fight, I like to feel that my back’s against the wall.
“I do really well there. I don’t like to feel respected. I like when people think a certain way, whether it’s negatively or whatever, and then I get an opportunity to shock them all,” he said.
Though losing a debut bout is nothing new for Alvarez. The experienced athlete understands that it is all part of the journey to success.
“Look, I got the first one out of the way. I lost, no problem. I did the same thing in the UFC [against Donald Cerrone] and I honestly almost did the same thing in my debut in Bellator. I got dropped terribly. My debut in Bellator against an Irish kid (Greg Loughran) that no one knew. I got caught pretty clean.
“I bounced back and got the win, but I’m not a big fan of my debuts, put it that way. So I got it out of the way, got it past me, and now I can go full-on, go undefeated straight to the belt,” Alvarez said.
“I go out there and I’ve given my all every time, but I think at every once in a while it’s good to take a loss and put the fire back in your belly, and I think it’s a good time to have that. Sometimes you need that fire to burn long enough to get to that World Title,” added Alvarez.
The lightweight legend is eager to figure in a better outing against his Filipino foe, whom he has much respect for, given the fact that Folayang is a two-time ONE World Champion.
“I never want an easy fight. My only desire is for the ONE Championship title. And this guy’s held it not once, but twice already.”