"What did I think? 'I told you so.' That's what I thought," Alvarez said. "You can ask everyone at Bellator. That's what I thought in my own head. I told them all. I said, 'Me and Mike are going to be the main event.' As soon as they said we're co-main event to Tito and 'Rampage,' I told them we'd be the main event. I guaranteed them that.
"I knew in my head that Tito or 'Rampage,' one of them would not make it through their training camp. These are guys who have been in this sport so long. I've been in this sport long, and I have dings and I'm lucky to make it through a training camp. Tito's been plagued with injuries and it didn't take a genius to see that one coming."
Alvarez (24-3 MMA, 9-2 BMMA) tries to recapture the 155-pound title from Chandler (12-0 MMA, 9-0 BMMA), who took it from him in November 2011 in the "Fight of the Year" for many observers, at Bellator 106 on Saturday at Long Beach Arena in California. The fight headlines the show on Spike TV – after seeing its status as the co-main event on the promotion's first pay-per-view get shifted when the broadcast plans were changed in the wake of Ortiz's injury.
Alvarez will have plenty of attention on him, though, for reasons that have nothing to do with the rematch with Chandler, who is more than a 2-to-1 favorite in the fight.
Alvarez will be fighting for the first time in more than a year after sitting out in a lengthy contract squabble with Bellator that saw him get an offer from the UFC, then a counter-offer from Bellator, then a long battle that had things tied up in court before the two sides finally came back around and settled.
Between just fighting again, for starters, and headlining the highest-profile Bellator show ever, and trying to recapture the title he once held, Alvarez has much to be excited about.
But one thing he's not too interested in talking about is the controversy that surrounded him while he and Bellator duked it out over dollars and cents, pay-per-views and title shots. But the dollars and cents part has an awful lot to do with why he's glad to be getting back in there and he wanted things settled already. When he lost to Chandler the first time, he said his mind was on money.
"I was broke," he told MMAjunkie.com. "People who are rich don't think about money. It was the first time in my career I was fighting thinking about, 'If I don't win, what will happen next?' I concentrated way too much on the win, and it showed poorly. I'm over that point in my life."
In fact, if you're curious how his new deal with Bellator turned out once both sides finally had enough give and take to be on the same page, you might want to ask elsewhere.
"I'm not talking about money," Alvarez said. "I'm here to fight. I ain't saying nothing about contracts, money, none of that. Call my manager if you want to talk about that. I'm feeling good right now. Don't make me feel bad."
The other public half of Alvarez's dispute with his employer, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, hasn't had much of a chance to make amends with the fighter. And it doesn't like Alvarez has much interest in being too chummy with his boss.
In that way, there are some parallels, ironically, with how Ortiz was with UFC President Dana White.
"I don't see him, he doesn't see me," Alvarez said of Rebney. "Bjorn's Bjorn. He does his job, I do my job. We don't need to like each other. Everybody's like, 'Are you friends with him? Do you talk?' We don't need to be friends. He needs to be a promoter, and I need to be a fighter, and that's all that matters. No, (I haven't spoken to him), and I don't care to, either."
Over the next two days, Alvarez will continue to try to put all that aside and focus up on the task at hand, which is dismantling Chandler to the point no one wants to talk about a third fight between the two, he said.
Now that he's had a full camp with the Blackzilians team in South Florida, he believes that will make all the difference for him against the unbeaten champion this time around.
"The idea is to demoralize him to the point there is no rematch," Alvarez said. "That's the idea in my mind. I want to go after this fight in a manner that tops all other performances and really get out there and push it and take it to him, where the fans or the promoters won't see a rematch in mind. That's my idea. That's what I trained for and that's what I prepared for."