Christian Lee says Eddie Alvarez needs to ‘earn their way’ to title shot

Christian Lee on a potential fight with Eddie Alvarez: “Everybody has to earn their way.”

Everyone wants a piece of the champion. Since young phenom Christian “The Warrior” Lee captured the ONE lightweight title in 2019, all eyes have been on the 22-year-old superstar. One massive fight on the horizon is a potential showdown with former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez.

Alvarez has repeatedly stated in the media that he’s looking for a crack at Lee and his ONE title with the former saying he did not think Lee is even the best lightweight in ONE Championship, let alone the world.

“It’s funny. For me, it’s just all talk. I don’t pay any attention to that,” Lee said in an interview with SCMP MMA. “The truth is, if he was the best fighter in the world, if he was the best fighter in ONE Championship, he would be holding the belt.”

Alvarez made headlines when, along with former 12-time UFC champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, he left the UFC to join ONE Championship in 2019. Things didn’t quite unfold the way Alvarez had planned when he suffered a destructive knockout loss to hard-hitting Russian Timofey Nastyukhin in his promotional debut.

Lee feels he would have already faced Alvarez in the ONE Championship circle, had Alvarez defeated Nastyukhin.

“The thing is, with Eddie’s first fight, if he had gotten a good convincing win over Timofey, they were probably ready to give him a title shot right then. But that’s not what happened,” said Lee. “His first fight in ONE, he got knocked out in the first round. I feel like that really set him back. In any organization, you don’t get a title shot off of a loss.”

To make matters clear, Lee says he is completely open to the idea of facing Alvarez but feels the 37-year-old veteran needs to prove himself in ONE Championship first.

“After getting knocked out by Timofey, he had a good win over Eduard Folayang. But from there he was still 1-1 in the promotion. He’s definitely done a lot in his career, but that’s just the way that it goes,” said Lee. “When you get signed to a global promotion like ONE Championship, you can’t just get a free ticket to the top. Everybody has to earn their way.”

As for Lee himself, he’s next up to the plate.

Lee is set to face No. 3-ranked contender, Nastyukhin in the main event of ONE on TNT 2 the second of a four-part event series from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore which broadcasts on Wednesday, April 14.

The ONE on TNT series airs every Wednesday in the United States from April 7 for four weeks. Each week will include a preliminary card digitally streamed exclusively on the Bleacher Report App and B/R Live from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET, followed by three main card fights televised exclusively on TNT in the U.S. at 10 p.m. ET.

Published at Thu, 01 Apr 2021 19:46:41 +0000

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