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Eddie Alvarez

(Gregory Payan/Associated Press)

Eddie Alvarez: Five Potential Opponents After Leaving ONE

Eddie Alvarez
(Gregory Payan/Associated Press)

Eddie Alvarez: Five Potential Opponents After Leaving ONE

Eddie Alvarez announced that he and ONE Championship have parted ways. The former UFC champion is now a free agent and is in need of a new promotional home, meaning Alvarez could fight in a variety of promotions against a variety of fighters. Alvarez may find himself back in the UFC, but he could also explore other enticing options. Here of five potential opponents for Eddie Alvarez’s next fight.

Dan Hooker — UFC

If Alvarez returns to the UFC, I think it would be important to test Alvarez against a good fighter. At the same time, he should not fight the lightweight division’s elite members like Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, or Michael Chandler. Those fights would be interesting, but he should not be thrown back into the deep end. That makes Dan Hooker a perfect opponent for Alvarez’s potential UFC return. At one point, Hooker was near the top of the lightweight division, but he has hit a rough patch losing four of his last five. Albeit those four losses all came against stiff competition. A fight between Alvarez and Hooker would help the UFC gauge Alvarez’s current skill level while providing the fans with a tremendous fight.

Tony Ferguson — UFC

In hindsight, Eddie Alvarez and Tony Ferguson should have fought in their primes. It is a shame that bout never came to fruition as it would have had Fight of the Year written all over it. If Alvarez returns to the UFC, Ferguson vs. Alvarez is a fight to explore. It is evident that Ferguson has lost a step. He is not the same fighter he was during his prime and it is not that close. With five consecutive losses, it is time to question if Ferguson should still be on the UFC roster. If the promotion keeps him around, he could fight Alvarez. This would be an interesting matchup that long-time UFC fans would love. Plus, it provides some clarity for Alvarez as well. If Alvarez beats Ferguson and does so convincingly, we would know that Alvarez deserves to be in the UFC. On the flip side, If Alvarez were to lose, we would learn that he should not be in the UFC.

Rafael dos Anjos — UFC

In 2016, Eddie Alvarez beat Rafael dos Anjos to win the UFC lightweight championship. In 2022, a rematch between the two could be in the cards. Dos Anjos is currently ranked No. 8 in the UFC lightweight rankings. Dropping Alvarez back into the UFC in the middle of the pack would make sense. From a logical standpoint, if Alvarez could beat dos Anjos he would prove that he is still an elite lightweight. That would not be an easy task either as dos Anjos has looked good of late as he is 2-1 since moving back down to lightweight — his lone loss came to Rafael Fiziev. That is not the end of the world as Fiziev has looked impressive in his last couple of fights. From a promotional standpoint, the UFC could promote this fight as a rematch between two former UFC champions. This mixture should pique the interest of UFC fans.

Nate Diaz– Real Fight Inc.

UFC 279 marked Nate Diaz’s last fight in the UFC. Prior to UFC 279, the UFC legend announced Real Fight Inc. his own combat sports promotion. If Diaz is looking to kick off the promotion with a bang, a fight against Alvarez would make sense. Another wrinkle in this potential bout is that Real Fight Inc. is a combat sports promotion, not an MMA promotion. That means that this fight could be an MMA fight or a boxing match. Regardless of what type of fight it is, a matchup between Alvarez and Diaz would tremendous. This is a fight that could have happened a few years ago, but the two are still in good enough shape to make the fight happen now.

The PFL

This obviously is not a fighter, but Alvarez joining the PFL makes sense. There is no reason to provide a name of a potential opponent as Alvarez would likely join the PFL for the 2023 season. If you are unfamiliar with the PFL, they have a season format and the winner of the season wins a million dollars. That potential prize money may attract Alvarez to the PFL. The PFL has been active in filling the roster with UFC veterans. In the past two months, the PFL has signed Thiago Santos, Marlon Moraes, and Shane Burgos.

I imagine the PFL would like to add a former UFC champion to the roster. If Alvarez heads over the PFL, the season format could result in him fighting any lightweight on the PFL roster. Currently, the PFL 2022 lightweight roster includes Jeremy Stephens, Anthony Pettis, and other former UFC fighters.

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