Welcome to the UFC Eddie Alvarez. As the saying goes, it’s better late than never.

Alvarez (25-3) was considered by many to be a top ten lightweight outside the UFC, though the official promotional rankings have him slotted in at fourteenth. To put that in comparison, the MMA Junkie/USA Today rankings have him slotted in at fifth. There might be a happy middle ground, but Alvarez, who holds wins over notables such as Shiya Aokia, Michael Chandler, Patricky Freire, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Pat Curran, Roger Huerta, and Katsunori Kikuno, amongst others, is almost certainly being undervalued in the UFC rankings (compiled by members of the press). Even Dana White agreed that the ranking was “a little low” in comments to The Download.

So what can we expect between him and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone?

Both fighters are more than capable of going the distance. Both have cardio, both have chins, both are tough, tough fighters. Cerrone has claimed in the build-up to the fight that he has never seen Alvarez fight, hasn’t googled him or watched any tape. That may be a sign that he’s overlooking Alvarez, but frankly, take it with a grain of salt, and either way, that’s just Cowboy. With Cowboy, what you see is what you get – it’s what makes him a fan favorite.

Alvarez, meanwhile, should come in motivated. He has power, solid footwork, but he will need to watch out for the submission game of Cerrone (24–6, 1 NC), which could be his undoing. Cerrone has submitted Edson Barboza and Evan Dunham of late, and has fifteen submission wins over the course of his career, so he’s always a threat to submit opponents, not to mention he also has two head kick knockouts on his current four-fight win streak. Alvarez has been out of the cage for almost a year, and ring rust then becomes an issue – though he didn’t show much in the second Chandler fight after sitting out just over a year. Octagon jitters could also play a role, but don’t get swept up in that argument: Alvarez has fought in big fights before, and should be able to handle the nerves that will no doubt come with making his UFC debut.

Win or lose, both Cowboy Cerrone and Eddie Alvarez are going to be around the UFC lightweight division for a long time to come. However, both are looking at a potential title shot with a solid win at UFC 178. What it’s all going to boil down to, with apologies for the cliche, is who wants it more. This bout has the potential to be Fight of the Night on a very stacked card, and the outcome could shake up the lightweight division.

Once again, welcome to the UFC, Eddie Alvarez.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.