After signing former UFC champions Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, 32, of Parkland, Washington, United States and Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez, 34, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, ONE Championship announced that it would hold two Grands Prix in 2019. On December 13, 2018, the chairman and CEO of the Singapore-based martial arts organization took to Twitter to announce the details.
Taking place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang on February 22, 2019, Singapore, “ONE: Call to Greatness” will mark Alvarez’s ONE Championship debut. The complete fight card has yet to be announced.
Alvarez and Johnson will participate in the lightweight and flyweight divisions, respectively, in ONE Championship’s inaugural eight-man mixed martial arts tournaments. If the former becomes the champion in his division, he will become the first ever MMA fighter to earn championship titles in three major promotions namely the UFC, ONE Championship and Bellator MMA.
Alvarez became the Bellator Lightweight Champion on June 19, 2009 when he defeated Toby Imada, 40, of Los Angeles, California, United States at “Bellator 12.” However, the former lost the title to Michael “Iron” Chandler, 32, of High Ridge, Missouri, United States on November 19, 2011 at “Bellator 58.”
For the second time, Alvarez became the Bellator Lightweight Champion by defeating Chandler in their rematch on November 2, 2013 at “Bellator 106.” The title was vacated on August 19, 2014 when the former was granted a release from Bellator MMA.
On July 7, 2016, Alvarez became the new UFC Lightweight Champion by dethroning then champion Rafael dos Anjos, 34, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at “UFC 185.” On November 12, 2016, Conor “Notorious” McGregor, 30, of Dublin, Ireland dethroned Alvarez at “UFC 205.”
The reigning UFC Lightweight Champion is Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagumedov, 30, of Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia. His ONE Championship counterpart is Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 35, who is training out of Team Lakay in Baguio City, Philippines.
Also expected to compete in the upcoming ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix are Honorio “The Rock” Banario, 29, of Mankayan, Benguet, Philippines, Amir Khan, 24, of Singapore, Ev “E.T.” Ting, 28, of New Zealand and Malaysia, Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki, 35, of Shizuoka, Japan, Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai, 29, of Bangkok, Thailand and Timofey Nastyukhin, 29, of Novokuznetsk, Kemerovo Oblast, Russia. Meanwhile, here is a clip featuring Folayang: