Eddie Alvarez Explains Why He Left the UFC to Join ONE Championship

Former champion Eddie Alvarez chose not to re-sign with the UFC, instead inking a new multi-fight deal to join ONE Championship and now he's explaining his move

Eddie Alvarez has already accomplished a lot during his career.

As it stands, “The Underground King” is the only fighter to hold titles in both the UFC and Bellator MMA while consistently being ranked as one of the top 10 lightweights in the world for a better part of a decade.

But following his most recent fight in the UFC, Alvarez entered free agency rather than automatically re-upping with the world biggest mixed martial arts promotion that he called home since 2014.

Instead, Alvarez inked a new deal to join ONE Championship and despite the UFC’s best efforts to keep him, this was ultimately the best deal for him and his family.

“I believe the offer from ONE was too good to turn down,” Alvarez explained on a media conference call on Wednesday. “The UFC did their best considering what the average pay of an athlete is at the UFC, I believe the UFC did a great job. They did their best to keep me but they have a business model. They pay a certain amount for certain fighters for certain reasons so everybody is a different case. It is what it is, no harm, no foul but it’s a business first with these promotions.

“ONE FC looked out for me, looked out for my family, they understood my wants and my needs.”

Obviously money played a part in Alvarez’s decision because every athlete testing free agency in mixed martial arts is looking to find out their value on the open market in hopes that several promotions will bid for their services.

Add to that, Alvarez says the opportunity to add yet another championship title to his resume was just too good to pass up, especially at this stage of his career.

Alvarez has already made history while holding titles in both the UFC and Bellator and he’s anxiously awaiting the chance to add a third major championship after signing his new contract.

“Without getting into further detail, we got offers from all around the world. We got offers from just about everyone you guys can think of and everyone expressed interest. I think the idea of ONE Championship was as far as organizations, ONE Championship was the only major organization that I haven’t held a world title in,” Alvarez said. “I’ve won the Bellator title twice during my career, I’ve won the UFC title during my career and as far as I’m concerned ONE FC is the only major organization where I haven’t got to touch that world title belt.

“I think for myself, for my family, for my fans and everyone, this would mean I have a chance of making history, possibly history that could never be made again. It would take a fighter 20 years in the fight game to fight for these organizations and it’s almost like a lottery ticket to win one world title. But to be able to go to every major organization and fight their best guys in the world, fight the best guys in the organization, beat them one by one and win that world title means the world to me.”

This contract to compete for a new promotion will also give Alvarez the opportunity to fight different competition while also traveling around the globe with ONE Championship keeping their focus in Asia.

Alvarez made a name for himself on a worldwide scale when he was competing in Japan back in 2008 and he looks forward to all new challenges as part of the ONE Championship roster.

“I think this whole idea of flying to Singapore, this is a whole new experience for me, it’s going to bring nerves like when I was young again and I look forward to feeling that way,” Alvarez said.

“It’s something fun, something new and it’s just something that I don’t have and I never won that world title. If I was to retire and there was an organization out there that was the best in the world and I wasn’t able and people come up to me and say ‘yeah but he didn’t win the ONE FC world title’, that would bug me. I’m going to save myself that bother and fly to Asia and take on the best lightweights there and win that world title.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.