Former Bellator champ Eddie Alvarez will be taking on former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez at UFC 188 on Saturday night, and though this co-main event promises fireworks, there might be some extra heat going into the bout in the form of bad blood.

I say “might” because it’s hard to tell if there’s a legitimate beef there.

Consider this:

  • Alvarez never goes into a fight liking his opponent. There’s always some sort of antipathy there. And that’s fine. If you need to be mad as someone for being willing to fight you to punch them in the face, so be it.
  • Talk of Alvarez and Melendez fighting in some sort of cross-promotional fisticuff has been prevalent for years, and predates them both being UFC fighters.
  • Alvarez said this to MMAJunkie: “I never heard from Gilbert,” Alvarez said. “The only time I heard from Gilbert is when I did really good. So like, if I won a world title or defended a world title, then like a week later Gibert would say something to the media about how he wanted to fight me. He just made sure he would mention me so he could fill a headline.”
  • Meanwhile, Melendez said this to MMAJunkie:¬†“I’ve always just wanted to fight him, and I’ve always just wanted to fight him and thought he was a good fighter,” Melendez said. “He’s taken it as some insults, and he’s badmouthed me here, and I just don’t like him because he’s badmouthed me. But I have nothing bad to say about him.”

Do these men hate each other with a heat that burns hotter than a thousand suns? No way. Do they moderately dislike each other? I don’t even think that’s the case. Will they have a good fight on Saturday night? That’s pretty much guaranteed.

I guess that’s all that matters.