Eddie Alvarez will continue his quest to become the first fighter to win belts with the UFC, ONE Championship and Bellator this week. He faces Iuri Lapicus knowing that a second successive win could take him to the cusp of a title shot.

The fight will be part of the ONE on TNT card which serves as the promotion’s prime time US television debut. Alvarez’s career has had more ups than downs but life with ONE Championship got off to a bad start when he was knocked out by Timofey Nastyukhin less than five minutes into his debut.

He get his post UFC career back on track with a win over Eduard Folayang in 2019 but suffered an ankle injury and ended up sitting on the sidelines for over a year. As he prepares to face Lapicus in Singapore on Wednesday (US time) the 37 year old reflected on his journey from growing up in  inner city Philadelphia to becoming a champion in

“It’s been about 17 years, going on two decades. It’s my life’s work,” he told Anatomy of a Fighter.

Inside me

Alvarez believes he was always destined to become a fighter,

“At 8 years old I remember moments (like) my dad teaching me how to fight how, to throw a punch and wanting to make him happy make him proud and going down the street and seeing if my friends wanted to fight with boxing gloves,” he recalls.

But Alvarez did not start fighting because of a pushy parent. He feels that there was always something ‘inside’ him pushing him to compete for a living,

“Fighting has to be in someone, it has to be inside you and I felt like it was inside me. I wanted to compete, I wanted to fight. It wasn’t something I tried to do, it was something that was inside me. I was lucky that it became an outlet I could express myself (through).”

Career highlights

Alvarez’ career has had some real highlights. He won the Bellator lightweight title and then the UFC lightweight title, losing that strap to Conor McGregor at UFC 205 in 2016 which was one of the biggest pay per view cards in the history of the sport.

He lives uptown now but credits a challenging childhood in Philadelphia with making him the man he is today,

“I was born there (downtown) but I don’t live there today. It strengthened me it made me resourceful and it made me become the man I am and the fighter I am.”

Had he come from a more privileged background Alvarez questions whether he would have acquired the necessary motivation to become a world champion mixed martial artist,

“Not having a lot of resources, not being able to get the things I wanted, it drove me crazy to the point that I would work my butt off and find solutions and get things done. That’s how I became driven.”

All about you

Lapicus is coming off a loss to Christian Lee. He is #1 in the rankings but Alvarez says he never focuses too much on his opponents,

“Fighting is about you imposing your will, you doing what you do well. You want to understand your opponent, his strengths and weaknesses, but at the end of the day the most important thing of all is to understand yourself and impose your will. It’s all about you.”

Alvarez will have to travel to Singapore to fight at ONE on TNT. But the new broadcast deal means that all eyes will be on him in the US and he is proud to have played a part in introducing the promotion to his homeland,

“This is everything I envisioned when I signed with ONE Championship. This is an opportunity to bring them to America, not only do I want to showcase myself but this is an opportunity for ONE Championship to showcase the talent that people haven’t seen. That’s what I wanted to bring to the table.”