Yes, jaws were dropped throughout the MMA world earlier this week, after the UFC announced that McGregor will challenge Alvarez for his lightweight belt at UFC 205. Alvarez – McGregor is a fight that many folks suspected would happen, but just a few days ago, Dana White said Khabib Nurmagomedov would be facing Alvarez next.
All this aside, Alvarez made it clear some time ago that he’d be more than willing to fight McGregor. In addition, the former Bellator champ has argued that McGregor is overrated, and that he’s not a championship, five round fighter. Recently Alvarez appeared on the Talking Brawls podcast, and the lightweight champ doubled down on his previous comments (quotes via MMA Fighting.com):
“He’s single-handedly picked the best style matchups for himself all throughout his reign in the UFC. If you look carefully, you understand that this guy hasn’t put himself against a guy that can threaten him on the ground. The only one he’s done that against is Chad Mendes on late notice because he had to. Other than that, he fought off stand up fighters who don’t do ground attacks at all…
“I’ll do whatever the f*ck I want in any aspect against him,” added Alvarez. “The opponents he’s fought allow him to look great. That’s the issue. That’s what these WWF fans who follow him don’t see. They see a guy who’s fighting or playing to his strengths so he can do what he wants and be good at it.”
Alvarez certainly isn’t the only person who believes that McGregor hasn’t thoroughly been vetted yet in the Octagon. Mendes is the only accomplished wrestler McGregor has faced, and as Alvarez noted, it was on short notice (although McGregor boosters have argued that the featherweight champ wasn’t preparing for a wrestler either…). It will be interesting to see whether McGregor can defend Alvarez’s takedown attempts, which the latter is almost certainly going to bring at some juncture.
UFC 205 will be hosted by the Madison Square Garden in New York City.