Former UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez believes that since Nurmagomedov beat a fighter who took the bout on a days notice, it made the title he used to hold meaningless.
“If the Philadelphia Eagles show up for the Super Bowl, and New England can’t make it, you don’t bring in the third-place team to play for the Lombardi Trophy,” Alvarez said on The MMA Hour. “You have to wait and you have be patient. You can’t tell the No. three, four, five guys ‘you get a title shot.’ It just got silly real fast. Everything got silly real fast, and it made the belt quite meaningless.”
Iaquinta was actually the third different opponent Nurmagomedov was supposed to fight at UFC 223, with former UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson and UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway.
Alvarez also claims the UFC contacted him about fighting Nurmagomedov on short notice at UFC 223, but says the weight cut would’ve been impossible in under a weeks time.
“There was no way, I could never make ’55 on a six-day notice, even if I was getting ready for that in that time,” Alvarez said. “My cut starts about 10 days out. I would have already had the foresight and the knowing this was going to happen in order to be able to make that weight. I may not look it, and some people don’t think [it], but I can get as high as 190 because of how much muscle I hold. I lose weight quickly, but I can go up, and I hold a lot of water because of the amount of muscle.”
There is no word yet on whom Nurmagomedov will make his first title defense against, but Alvarez does sit at #3 in the UFC Lightweight Division Rankings.