MIXED martial arts legend Eddie Alvarez hopes to earn a crack at the ONE Championship lightweight title with a win over Iuri Lapicus.
Fan favourite Alvarez will lock horns with the Moldovan in the co-main event of ONE's inaugural TNT event, which takes place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The highly-regarded Lapicus – whose sole defeat came at the hands of current 170lb champ Christian Lee – will pose one of the tougher tests of Alvarez's stint in ONE.
And Alvarez reckons a dominant victory over the 25-year-old will bag him his fifth world title shot.
The 37-year-old told SunSport: "I don't really see any other path [to a title shot]. He's No.2, right?
"Just previously, my last win was against the two-time ONE champion Eduard Folayang.
"And then a win against No.2 [should get me a title shot]."
The Underground King has fought a who's who of greats in the lightweight division and is a bonafide hall-of-famer.
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And he firmly believes his impressive body of work is already deserving of a title shot.
The MMA great said: "I've fought the best guys in the world all over.
"I don't know what I have to prove to anyone, to the promotion or even the current champion that I'm worthy to fight for a world title."
Should Alvarez get past Lapicus and be given a crack at ONE gold, he's vowed to maintain his 100 per cent title-shot record.
He said: "If they give me a shot at a world title, I'll win it.
"I don't lose shots for a world title. If they give me the shot, I'll beat the champion."
Alvarez is under no illusion of being given a title shot with a less than impressive win over Lapicus.
So the pride of Philadelphia plans to make himself undeniable by finishing his foe even more emphatically than Lee did.
The former Bellator and UFC lightweight king said: "I'm going to finish Iuri.
"I need to do it impressively and I need to do it in a fashion that will warrant me a title shot. So I need to do better than Christian did."
It's been nearly three years since Alvarez inked a lucrative deal with ONE to resume his days competing in Asia.
The long-time Mark Henry student has thoroughly enjoyed his time under the banner, saying: "ONE has been incredible.
"Besides Covid happening, which none of us saw coming, everything that ONE has promised and said that where they're leaning and where they're trying to go with their business and where they're doing has come to fruition.
"It's already manifested. And that's what I envisaged when I joined ONE.
"Everything we spoke about from the very beginning has happened."
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