Surging Alvarez embraces spotlight at open workouts

Eddie Alvarez may be a couple days away from his challenge for Rafael Dos Anjos’ UFC lightweight championship on Thursday, but on Tuesday, in the same MGM Grand building where he will battle the Brazilian, he gave media members a prediction of what he believes Bruce Buffer will be bellowing on fight night.

“And newwwwwwwwww,” yelled Alvarez, loose and raring to go after open media workouts.

“It was a little transition coming from the smaller promotions up here,” the Philadelphia native said. “I'm enjoying you guys now, I'm having fun, and when you're having a good time, it only turns around to a good performance.”

Coming off back-to-back wins over Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis, the 32-year-old Alvarez is a dues-paying member of the School of Hard Knocks, and it’s clear that he’s appreciating the long road he took to get here.

“It’s everything,” he said. “Since I was 8 years old, walking with four boxing gloves in my hand, knocking for a friend, (hoping) that maybe someone could fight me. That's what this has grown to.

“I always said that this is a marathon and not a sprint, and I'm willing to wait my turn, and now it's my turn and we're gonna take that belt home.”

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In Dos Anjos, Alvarez faces a near-mirror image: The two are both hard-nosed veterans who can handle themselves wherever the fight goes. The champion is seen as the more well-rounded fighter, but as Alvarez pointed out, he always has some tricks up his sleeve.

“I don't know if people have even seen what I've done in the past,” he said. “But it doesn't matter. What's done is done. Whether I did it last year or a year ago, it's done. What's important is the time is now and it's important to keep changing. When people think I'm a brawler, I come in intelligent. When people think I'm fighting intelligent and safe, I come in brawling. I keep people thinking and guessing. That's what the game is about.”

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To sharpen that game, Alvarez continues settling in with Mark Henry and New Jersey standouts like Frankie Edgar, Edson Barboza and Marlon Moraes. When asked if his claim of 150 sparring rounds for this fight was true, he makes a correction.

“150-plus,” Alvarez said, noting that to weather the storms of the fight game and get to a world title shot, you have to love it. And Eddie Alvarez loves it.

“Anybody knows that if you're passionate about something you love, the more you do it, the better you get,” he said. “People who talk about overtraining or overdoing something are people who ain't passionate about what they do. You go to bed late, you wake up early, that's someone who loves what they do and you need to be like that about fighting if you want to be at the top. If you're talking about overtraining, you need to get out of the game.”

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