Before joining the UFC in 2014, Eddie Alvarez was considered one of the most exciting lightweight fighters in the world.
A winner of multiple titles in multiple MMA promotions, Alvarez felt the pressure in his UFC debut against Donald Cerrrone, and ended up losing via unanimous decision.
A couple of lackluster split decisions later, and the former Bellator lightweight champion ended up challenging Rafael dos Anjos for UFC lightweight gold at UFC Fight Night 90.
In what was, by far, his most spectacular performance under the UFC banner, Alvarez battered dos Anjos from pillar-to-post and won the title, finishing the Brazilian with a barrage of strikes in the first round.
Fans saw flashes of the Alvarez in Bellator and DREAM, the Alvarez that electrified audiences with his ‘dont give a f-ck’ brawling style that we had all become so accustomed to. Alvarez’ moment of glory was to be short-lived, however, as the 33-year-old was outclassed and finished by Conor McGregor in his first title defense at UFC 205.
After a controversial back-and-forth fight with Dustin Poirier this past May, in a bout that was ultimately ruled a No Contest due to a series of illegal knees, Alvarez is ready to electrify fans once more against Justin Gaethje.
The secret to success, according to Alvarez, is ‘not giving a f-ck’.
“In my mind, I’m just looking, for myself, I just don’t feel like I’ve fought my best fight in the UFC yet,” Alvarez said on a recent edition of MMA Tonight, per MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew. “I feel like I’m having a moment now where I want to say that I’m not giving a f**k and I feel like the less I give a f**k, the better I fight. I think I cared a bit too much, even in my title fight which I won, I just cared a little bit too much and I didn’t risk enough. I just want to approach the game where I really just don’t give a f**k. I think I fight better that way.
“I think when I entered the UFC [I started caring too much]. There was a big thing, could I compete with the best guys in the world? Could I compete with the guys in the UFC? There was that whole stigma that the guys from the smaller promotions couldn’t hang with the best guys in the UFC so I just let my surroundings and the things I was hearing affect the way I was fighting. It made me focus more on winning than on being me. I was so worried about winning and proving people wrong that I could win the UFC world title, [but] when you get focused too much on winning I don’t feel like you’re able to be your total self. I do better when I care less.”
Alvarez, who is working day and night to change his mindset, told fans to expect a brawl at UFC 218.
“Any fans tuning in, my preparation purely for this fight, if I’m working anything every day, really hard, I’m working on just not giving a f**k so you might want to tune in for this fight.”
The pay-per-view, which features Alvarez vs. Gaethje on the main card, takes place on December 2 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.