ONE Championship athletes Eddie Alvarez, Mehdi Barghi, and Tyler McGuire spoke to the media ahead of the much-ballyhooed event, ONE on TNT 1. It emanates from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Wednesday, April 7th.
The main card goes live on TNT at 10 p.m. eastern time. In addition, the main card will be available live on Bleacher Report and the B/R app at 10 p.m eastern time. You can catch the prelims on B/R App, B/R Live, Bleacher Report, B/R Live YouTube, and B/R MMA Twitter at 8:30 p.m. eastern time.
Below are excerpts from my Q&A with Eddie Alvarez.
Seems like there’s a degree of trash talk coming in from Iuri Lapicus but you seem pretty unfazed by that largely. But I’m kind of wondering, is there any dynamic with being the living legend and being perceived as like the statement name for some of these guys?
Does that inform your performance at all, does it give a bit of a chip on your shoulder in any kind of way at all?
“I feel like when I came in on my debut, it was adding pressure. Affecting me in a way. I don’t like just getting respect. I like earning it, I like taking it, that’s a part of the hunt for me. It’s part of my motivation and drive. And when I’m just given respect like that, it kind of takes a little bit of the drive away. So yeah, I don’t like being perceived as that but like I changed my own perspective on it.”
“It doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter what they call me, it doesn’t matter what I did in the past, doesn’t matter. What I did my last fight, or whether I won or lost. What matters is right now, this next opponent that’s in front of me that’s all that matters. That’s all that ever mattered.”
ONE on TNT 1
Was there a distinct moment when you had that perspective shift that you noticed?
“In my debuts. A lot of my debuts whether, we’re talking about Bellator, UFC, or even ONE Championship. Any one of the major promotions in the world. I’ve never done good in my debuts ever. And I just look back and I was like, ‘what was the one factor that kind of separated my performance from being good and being able to go out there and just be myself?’ and I think a lot of it was the pressure of who I was.”
“That the promotion was putting this name on me. Whether it’s a legend or the guy who’s supposed to be the champion or whatever. I was holding that weight rather than just letting it roll off my shoulder. I was holding onto it. And it wasn’t allowing me to perform to the best of my ability.”
Alvarez vs Lapicus
With the backdrop of the recent video of Demetrious Johnson saying that it’s the crown jewel winning that (ONE) Grand Prix championship. Because he comes from that background of the grand prix being so significant…How important of a capstone, would that be for the career to have a grand prix championship within ONE Championship?
“Yeah, it seemed to escape me. It escaped me back in 2006 in Asia and it escaped me again two years ago here in Asia again. So they keep escaping me, and I don’t know why. I leave everything into the fight gods. When they speak I listen. And, you know, you can try. Try your butt off, work hard, and do everything you can. But sometimes it’s just not in your favor and I wasn’t able to.”
“When it came to the DREAM lightweight Grand Prix, they disqualified me from the tournament. I was the only fighter in the tournament to go undefeated and they disqualified me for an eye injury. And then for the ONE Championship Grand Prix, I end up getting injured as well. So, these Grand Prixs are a lot about survival. And, staying healthy, and my style of fighting, don’t lend itself to stay healthy. It’s not a very healthy style of fighting.”
I guess being the violence-weight champion doesn’t lend itself well to that kind of format.
“That’s one belt I do have. I am the most violent. So, can’t take that away from me.”