Eddie Alvarez carries a lot of hype with him as he prepares to make his Octagon debut later this month at UFC 178.
Alvarez, a former two-time Bellator lightweight champion, will jump right into the fire against Donald Cerrone for his first fight.
Let’s take away the fact that Alvarez (25-3) will have to worry about the “Octagon jitters” Joe Rogan loves to talk about. He’ll be meeting “Cowboy” and fighting for the first time since last November when he scored a split decision over Michael Chandler.
So, it begs to ask the question: is this the right move for Alvarez?
While it would likely suit him better to test out the UFC with an unranked fighter, yes, this is the best situation for the 30-year-old native of Philadelphia. Known as “The Silent Assassin,” Alvarez has so much to gain by fighting someone with the track record of Cerrone.
Here’s what could play out with Alvarez after the UFC 178 fight:
Alvarez finishes Cerrone early
It will have been almost two years since Alvarez ended a fight early when he competes here in a matter of days, but he has that ability. Since turning pro, he has 14 knockout wins and seven more by submission, including against the likes of Patricky Freire, Shinya Aoki, Roger Huerta and Josh Neer.
Should Alvarez come in and stop the Cowboy express, one would have to assume a title fight or No. 1 contender match would be next, right? There wouldn’t really be anything to say otherwise considering Cerrone has won four in a row.
Alvarez earns a decision victory
There wouldn’t be any shame in going the distance with Cerrone, which is something that is very likely to happen. These two are world-class fighters and athletes, and neither wants to slip up at all.
Would you downgrade Alvarez, a champion in another organization coming over to the UFC, if he wasn’t able to finish a contender? Maybe he doesn’t score a title shot with a decision win, but another Top-5 opponent would definitely have to be next.
Alvarez gets finished or loses via decision to Cerrone
Cerrone has stopped No. 8 Jim Miller, 11th-ranked Edson Barboza, Adriano Martins and Evan Dunham in his last four fights, so he has that taste for the finish.
Should he make it five in a row and likely score himself a title shot, what would that do to the confidence of Alvarez? Would he be able to will himself back like he did after losing to Chandler?
The lightweight division is stacked at the moment, so Alvarez would likely be paired up with another ranked foe for his second fight. Maybe Bobby Green? Maybe Josh Thomson? There are options.
To summarize, what happens with Alvarez in the UFC is going to be an interesting road. He’s wanted to be in the promotion for several years now and leaves behind a lasting legacy in Bellator.
What his UFC legacy becomes will be played out before our very eyes for the next few years inside the Octagon.