Joel Alvarez honored to be a pioneer for Spanish MMA, hopes to see more Spaniards in UFC

Joel Alvarez feels honored to be in his current position.

The 27-year-old is one of two Spain-born fighters competing in the UFC. Alvarez (17-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is proud to represent his country in the sport’s biggest organization, and he’ll get an opportunity to do it again Saturday when he takes on Alexander Yakovlev at UFC 254.

“Yeah, we’re pioneers because in Spain, the one who started everything was Enrique Marin (first Spanish fighter to compete in the UFC), ‘Wasabi,’ and now we’re here putting in the work and settling in the company,”Alvarez said in Spanish on Wednesday’s edition of “Hablemos MMA EXTRA.” “It’s something that stands out, stands out a lot because there’s not many Spaniards in the UFC, so we’re going to stand out.”

Being one of the few Spanish fighters to ever compete in the UFC, Alvarez feels a sense of responsibility to his nation every time he sets foot in the octagon.

“That’s it, like you said,” Alvarez said. “It’s representing the country, and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about – representing your flag when you step out to fight. The truth is that for me, it’s a complete honor.”

Alvarez is on a two-fight winning streak after an unsuccessful UFC debut. In his last bout, he submitted Irish veteran Joseph Duffy in July at UFC on ESPN+ 30. The Gijon native hopes that his career and work in the UFC inspires other Spaniards to follow suit.

“It’s a growth that’s been happening in the last few years, and I hope that it continues,” Alvarez said. “Now that we’ve opened up the path a bit, I hope more Spaniards enter the UFC.”

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