The Underground King is leaving the UFC and heading to Asia, according to ESPN.
After weeks of rumors, it sounds like Eddie Alvarez is ready to sign on the dotted line.
Multiple sources have confirmed to ESPN that the former UFC and Bellator champion is leaving the UFC to sign with Asian promotion ONE Championship. Originally reported by MMABrasil’s Tarso Doria, the news is about as close to official as you can get without an official announcement. ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong went as far as to tease the reveal earlier this morning:
I’m about to announce one of the biggest athlete signings in history for ONE Championship. Any guesses? #WeAreONE
— Chatri Sityodtong (@YODCHATRI) October 13, 2018
Of course, the UFC could always field a last second offer that draws fan favorite Alvarez back into the fold. Even at 1-2-1 over his last four fights, Eddie’s value to any promotion lucky enough to have him is clear – to the point where Bellator actually sued to try and keep him from leaving back in 2013.
They only managed to hold onto him for one more fight before Alvarez arrived in the UFC, winning the lightweight title off Rafael dos Anjos in 2016 before losing it in a shocking route to Conor McGregor later that year.
Wars with Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje confirmed that Eddie wasn’t done at the top of the extremely tough lightweight division, but Alvarez decided not to re-sign with the UFC leading into his final fight, preferring to test the waters of free agency. Not even a meeting with Dana White in Philly could get the two parties to agree on financial terms.
Now ONE Championship is picking up one of the most exciting fighters in the world, one with tons of name recognition both with the oldschoolers and the Conor casuals.