Eddie Alvarez, Demetrious Johnson believe more big names coming to ONE Championship
Santino Honasan on Oct 29, 2018 03:40 PM
I think this is the beginning of something special and I think initially, people are always skeptical and they critique, but after, as it catches on and more fighters understand how powerful and how dominant ONE can be as a promotion, I feel like it will catch on pretty quickly." - Eddie Alvarez
In a span of two weeks, Asian mixed martial arts giant ONE Championship managed to sign arguably two of their biggest talent acquisitions in Eddie Alvarez and Demetrious Johnson.
Alvarez, a former UFC and Bellator Lightweight World Champion signed with ONE back in mid-October, which at the time was one of the biggest bits of news in mixed martial arts circles.
Of course, many would question the decision.
Alvarez, after all, was leaving the biggest MMA promotion in North America, and one of the biggest in the whole world.
For Alvarez however, the decision to head on over to ONE Championship was more than about money, but rather history.
"ONE Championship is the only major organization that I have not won the title yet. I won the UFC World Title, I won the Bellator World Title, and I’ve won a number of smaller organisation’s titles, but ONE is the only major organization that I haven’t won a championship title in, so I think it’s important, an important part of history, I can be the only fighter to do it, so why not?," Alvarez told ABS-CBN Sports.
Alvarez also added that his deal with ONE wasn't simply a fighter-promoter type of relationship, but rather a partnership of sorts.
"Without giving details of the actual deal, I think most fighter’s contracts are based on show and win, and my contract in particular was a little more involved than that, there was a lot more details in it, and I think it was just a true partnership, not just to come in and show and ‘here’s your win money,’ and goodbye, it’s more than that. The promotion valued me, the see more value than just being a fighter and the compensated me because of it."
Around this time, it had already been reported that ONE Championship and the UFC were working on a deal to 'trade' Demetrious Johnson and Ben Askren, and no one was more excited about the news than Alvarez himself.
This is getting Fun !!!! A lot of history being made @MightyMouseUFC IMO is , and will be for a long time the best to do it 👊🏻👊🏻👊🏻— Eddie Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) October 24, 2018
Alvarez further commented on this, saying that he was excited to be in the same banner as Johnson again.
"I’ve always been a fan of Demetrious," Alvarez admitted, "and in my opinion he is one of the greatest fighters to be in the cage, and he’s humble, he’s a family man, he’s the epitome of a life-long martial artist. He exemplifies a true martial artist, and I’m excited to join a company that he’s also involved in, that he also believes in. I think we’re going to be a crucial part of growing this into the United States, and just a lot of big things happening."
Alvarez believes that his and Johnson's arrival to ONE Championship could definitely help in attracting even more big names to the promotion.
"Yes, this is how it always begins. It’s just like anything. At first, when it’s unfamiliar and it’s new and maybe you’re the only one doing it, people say it’s crazy and they have an opinion, and then after a while they say that it’s genius. I think this is the beginning of something special and I think initially, people are always skeptical and they critique, but after, as it catches on and more fighters understand how powerful and how dominant ONE can be as a promotion, I feel like it will catch on pretty quickly."
Johnson signed with ONE on October 29th, Manila time, and was officially introduced via a global comference call.
On the call, Johnson echoed Alvarez' statements about helping draw more talents to ONE Championship, and said that it won't be just MMA talent that will be coming in soon.
"Absolutely, 100%. ONE Championship is the home of martial arts, and it’s not even going to be just mixed martial artists coming over to ONE Championship, I’m sure ONE Championship and Chatri and these guys have their eyes out on the best kickboxers, the best Muay Thai guys coming over possibly from Glory or from any other promotion, so I bet you you’ll see a lot more athletes coming over to ONE Championship from mixed martial arts promotions in North America, but don’t count out other promotions as well that are into martial arts like kickboxing and Muay Thai."
Both Alvarez and Johnson are expected to make their promotional debuts in 2019. Both are also expected to attent ONE's Heart of the Lion event in Singapore on November 9th.