Pereira made his UFC debut last year following an impressive run in Glory Kickboxing. He’s also the only fighter in any sport to finish Adesanya, as he did at Glory of Heroes 7.
Pereira is coming off of his win over Andreas Michailidis at UFC 268. He’s now set to face Bruno Silva in an exciting matchup at UFC Vegas 50 this weekend.
Pereira has previously said that he made Adesanya break into tears following the knockout. Now that Pereira has made the full-time move to MMA, the third fight between them could happen sooner rather than later.
Adesanya has expressed moderate intrigue in an eventual fight between him and Pereira in the UFC. He’s hinted that Pereira has some work to do before getting a middleweight title shot, at which point he would be more than happy to face Pereira in an MMA setting.
During a recent appearance on the Trocacao Franca podcast, Pereira accused Adesanya of misleading his fans regarding his interest in a fight with him.
“Man, have you seen me laughing before? It’s hard, right?” Pereira said through chortles. “How does this guy say he’s anxious to fight me? If I were in his shoes and I was crazy to fight someone, anxious, like he’s saying he is … as soon as I heard ‘Alex Pereira has signed with the UFC,’ [I would’ve said] f***, [book it] right away. The respect he has [within the company], I’d say, ‘Ask him if he wants to fight me now. Forget about Robert Whittaker, cancel this fight, reschedule it. I make the calls. If Alex wants it, I want it.’
“F***, man, that’s what you do is you’re anxious to fight [someone]. ‘Oh, I can’t wait to fight Alex, but I’ll fight him [after] 15 fights.’ F***, How is he anxious to do it? What does he want? Look, I’ll tell you this — it’s harder for me to get to him than beating him. He knows that. He knows how I beat him. He fought me twice. He won’t admit how difficult I am. He’s not anxious to fight me. He wants me to slip tomorrow so he can say, ‘Is this the guy you want me to fight? Are you crazy? Go back to the end of the line.’ He’ll run from me.” (h/t MMA Fighting)
Pereira then went on to proclaim that the UFC middleweight champion may be intentionally avoiding him out of fear.
“Someone crazy for a fight will say, ‘I want this guy, I want to prove I’m better than him,’” Pereira continued. “He’s fooling his fan base. People should pressure him. The least he could do is say, ‘F*ck, I’ll show my fans that I’m the best and that’s why they follow me,’ but that’s not what he’s doing. He’s scared s***. Like Glover [Teixeira] says, he’s scared s***.”
Adesanya is coming off of his UFC 271 title rematch against Robert Whittaker, earning a unanimous decision win. He’s expected to face Jared Cannonier later this year for his next title defense.
If Pereira is able to put on another impressive performance against Silva, calls for a fight with Adesanya will start to ramp up. This could give Adesanya the chance to get vengeance after losing twice to Pereira in the kickboxing ring.
Do you think we’ll eventually see Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira in the UFC?