Lightweight Eddie Alvarez has competed for championships in the past and tested his skill in front of sizeable crowds. However, few of Alvarez’s previous efforts have carried the same weight as that of tonight’s meeting with Patricky Freire at Bellator 76. The bout is the last on Alvarez’s contract, making him a restricted free agent after its conclusion.

While the 28-year old will likely field offers from a number of promotions once his deal expires, the frontrunner to ink Alvarez is unquestionably the UFC. Organization head Dana White has expressed interest in Alvarez in the past and joining the company’s roster would give the 23-3 fighter a good deal more exposure (and money) than he’s had thus far under Bellator’s banner.

With tens of thousands of dollars likely on the line against Freire, some might think Alvarez could be feeling a bit anxious about how action might unfold in this evening’s affair. Surprisingly, that hasn’t actually been the case.

“I thought the pressure would be a lot greater than what it is, to be honest. I’ve had zero distractions. The only thing I have to do all day is train and that creates a very dangerous person,” said Alvarez in an interview with ESPN. “I have nothing but complete confidence. [The contract situation] doesn’t make me fearful, it doesn’t make me nervous. The training I’ve done in the past month kind of, you know, gives me a secret smile. I’m not worrying about this or that, I’m thinking, ‘Wait until you guys see what’s about to happen on Friday.’”

Though Alvarez signing with the UFC may seem like a foregone conclusion to most, including Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney as it turns out, the Philadelphia native admitted he’s keeping an open mind when it comes to his decision on where he plans to fight in the future.

“Regardless of where I go – (even) if I’m fighting in some obscure country where no one sees me – my skill will always follow me,” explained Alvarez, adding he is content knowing he’s good enough to beat any opponent no matter who he fights for. “For me, it’s about going and fighting where I can make the best living that I can for me and my family. Wherever that is, that’s where I’ll go.”

Fans can catch Alvarez-Freire tonight on MTV2 when the main card broadcast starts at 8:00 PM EST. Alvarez has won eight of his nine bouts in Bellator including success against Josh Neer, Roger Huerta, and Shinya Aoki.