Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson might have the headline billing later this yer, but Eddie Alvarez doesn’t see it as a true No. 1 contender match.
That’s because the former Bellator lightweight champion believes he has done more than enough to warrant a shot at the winner of Rafael dos Anjos-Conor McGregor in March for the belt.
Alvarez (27-4) has scored back-to-back split decisions vs. ex-UFC champion Anthony Pettis and former Strikeforce titleholder Gilbert Melendez since suffering a decision loss to Donald Cerrone in 2014 in his Octagon debut.
Prior to signing with the UFC, the 32-year-old from Philadelphia reeled off a 10-1 record that includes victories over Michael Chandler, Shinya Aoki, Pat Curran and Roger Huerta.
“I’m next,” proclaimed Alvarez during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour. “I’m the No. 1 contender. That’s it. There is no one (else). There is no one who has done what I’ve done.
“Not in the career that I’ve done it.”
Alvarez also let it be known that UFC officials offered him the fight with Ferguson following his victory vs. Pettis, but revealed a bum ankle forced him to pass.
“Yes, I lost to Donald Cerrone, but did I do what most normal guys do and try to pick up a win and get a Top-20 guy?” Alvarez asked. “No, I fought a guy even higher than Cerrone. I fought Glbert Melendez.
“Then, after Gilbert, I fought the No. 1 contender and beat him (in Pettis). There is no one else. I’m next; it’s not even debatable.”
While he recovers, Alvarez said he plans to attend UFC 196 next month in Las Vegas and see first-hand the bout between dos Anjos and McGregor.