Antonio Caruso is looking to take on The Underground King.
In a social media post on Thursday, the Adelaide native called for a match up with fellow ONE Championship lightweight Eddie Alvarez.
Speaking with Fight News Australia, “The Spartan” said he is looking to fight regardless, but he’d prefer to keep testing himself against the best the division has to offer.
“I’m enjoying taking on the big names and I want to continue to do so,” he said.
In October, Caruso (8-1) defeated a significantly more experienced opponent in former ONE Championship lightweight champion Eduard Folayang via unanimous decision in impressive fashion. Despite coming in as the underdog, he outskilled the Filipino using wrestling and even managed to drop the tenacious striker with a right hook of his own early in the second round.
“Obviously, it felt amazing to win and beat such a big name on such a big card,” Caruso said. “But to me it’s just a workday. You go in there and get your job done.”
Alvarez, 37, who is a former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion, joined ONE Championship in 2018 and has fought twice under the banner. In 2019, Alvarez (30-7, 1 NC) lost to Russian Timofey Nastyukhin via TKO in his debut, and later that year rebounded by submitting Eduard Folayang in the first round. He hasn’t competed since but was scheduled to face Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev twice in 2020; the bout was cancelled once due to injury and again due to the coronavirus.
“[I] really admire him as an athlete and a fighter, and I’d love the privilege to get in there and fight him,” Caruso said of Alvarez. “I still think he’s got what it takes. He still thinks he’s got what it takes, and I’d love to test myself against arguably one of the best MMA fighters of our generation.”
Caruso says he’s happy to keep proving he’s better than fighters with more than twice his number of fights.
“I enjoy that. I enjoy having a massive challenge in front of me. Sometimes too big of a challenge. I believe it brings out the best in me,” Caruso said. “Respect to Eddie Alvarez and his past, but I’m looking at the right now and he doesn’t have a belt and neither do I.”
While he’s realistic about his chances of getting the fight, Caruso is a big believer in putting his hand up.
“You really have to push your way to the front of the line to get what you want,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys who deserve big fights and big names, and who have been doing their work for a while … But hey, if you wanna see someone whose gonna rock up on game day and give it everything, and give him a good run for his money, it’s me.”