Christian Lee: Eddie Alvarez Wants the Fight, But He Didn’t Earn It

Published 06/15/2021, 3:24 AM EDT


Reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee knows who should get the next title shot. According to the 22-year-old, it’s not Eddie Alvarez.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Despite Alvarez’ calls for a title shot, Lee doesn’t think “The Underground King” has earned the right to challenge for the belt.

“Right now he’s on a losing streak. He had that good win over Eduard Folayang, but other than that, he hasn’t won in his last four fights in ONE Championship. There’s just no way to warrant a title shot,” Lee told SCMP MMA in a recent interview.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Alvarez suffered a brutal knockout at the hands of Timofey Nastyukhin in his ONE Championship debut back in 2019. He bounced back with a submission victory over former lightweight king Folayang months later to regain momentum.

Earlier this year, however, Alvarez was disqualified against former title challenger Iuri Lapicus, before the decision was overturned to a no contest ruling. He then dropped a unanimous decision loss to South Korean OK Rae Yoon in his most recent fight.

Alvarez is currently 1-2, 1NC with ONE Championship.

“I’ve never turned down a fight before, but what can I say? I want the fight. Eddie wants the fight. The fans want the fight. But he didn’t earn it. He didn’t earn his way there,”Lee said.

“So I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon, unless he can turn his record around and start getting some wins over some top contenders.”

Who does Lee think deserves a shot at his lightweight strap? The #5-ranked lightweight contender, OK, is on a nifty little four-fight winning streak right now, having beaten Alvarez and former ONE Featherweight World Champion Marat Gafurov in his last two outings for ONE.

Following his victory over Alvarez last April, OK called out Lee for a crack at the belt.

“I like Ok Rae Yoon. He had a great last two performances against Marat [Gafurov] and against Eddie [Alvarez]. He’s a really respectful guy, and he has really good skills as well. I like his call out, it was probably the most respectful call out that I’ve seen,” Lee said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

“I’ve basically beaten everyone in the top five except for him, and so he’s really the last guy left. If I was going to make a lightweight title defense, it would definitely be against OK Rae Yoon. I don’t really see anyone else.”

Lee is currently in Hawaii, spending quality time with wife Katie and their newborn daughter. “The Warrior” is looking to make a Circle return later this year.

“I’m still training, but not like fight camp training. I’m still staying busy in the gym. I’m always ready year-round,” Lee said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

“But I think I’ll be getting back in there towards the end of the year. I definitely plan on getting one more in 2021. Right now we’re just kind of trying to line up the opponent, line up the location, and once we get that set then I’ll have a date.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Varun Khanna

1320 articles

Starting off as a tennis author in 2018, Varun Khanna has gone on to contribute to EssentiallySports in various capacities. After setting up interviews with the likes of Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou, Alizé Cornet, and Noah Rubin, Varun is now part of all major ATP and WTA press conferences and has gone on to pen more than 1300 articles for EssentiallySports. He now heads the tennis and NBA division of the organization.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

essentiallysports's Stories