Eddie Alvarez's Reported UFC Contract Does Not Guarantee a Title Shot

Craig AmosFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2013

Photo via MMAJunkie.com
Photo via MMAJunkie.comKyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Between the recent signing of Eddie Alvarez and Strikeforce's impending cessation of operations, the UFC's already stacked 155-pound division is about to get a serious infusion of talent. 

In a division wrought with existing title contenders, introducing Alvarez and Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez raises some questions over who will next get the nod to vie for Benson Henderson's coveted strap.

In a recent interview with MiddleEasy.com, UFC head honcho Dana White shed some light on how the 155-pound division's title picture will play out. He squashed rumors that Alvarez is next in line

Gilbert Melendez is the guy who will get the title shot. That's going to happen. Eddie Alvarez's contract doesn't say that he gets an immediate title shot. He'll get a fight in the UFC....I would definitely be looking to Gilbert Melendez next. Eddie Alvarez will come in and fight a fight against a top contender to see if he gets a shot at the title.

That seems to paint a pretty clear picture of the direction the UFC's lightweight division is headed in, though nothing is written in stone. Between potential injuries and other title candidates emerging, White's forecasts are not infallible.

Alvarez will no doubt start out near the top of the division, as White's comments imply. The expectations are that he will face off against a top-10 lightweight. 

If Melendez does indeed garner a title shot upon entering the UFC, he will carry his seven-fight win streak into a battle with Henderson that would unify the Strikeforce and UFC titles, though the former will soon be defunct.