Adesanya spoke on the matter during a recent press conference ahead of UFC 276, where he’ll defend his middleweight throne against Jared Cannonier. However, sharing the main card with Adesanya will be Pereira, who takes on Sean Strickland in a middleweight clash.
This is a huge opportunity for Pereira, as Strickland is currently the No. 4-ranked middleweight in the UFC at the moment. Should Pereira pull off the win, it could put him on the fast track to a showdown with Adesanya.
Pereira owns two wins over Adesanya in kickboxing, the latest being a knockout win in which “Stylebender” was rendered unconscious in the third round. After getting past Cannonier, Adesanya is looking to get revenge on Pereira (h/t MMA Fighting).
“This isn’t kickboxing, this is mixed martial arts,” Adesanya said. “These ain’t big pillow gloves, these are four ounce deadly weapons that I can’t wait to drive through his face after I go through Jared Cannonier.”
The pair first met in kickboxing competition back in 2016 under the Glory banner in China. Pereira took home a unanimous decision win over Adesanya. They rematched for Glory the following year in Brazil, where Pereira picked up the knockout win.
That was Adesanya’s last professional kickboxing bout. He would then make the switch to MMA, quickly rising to become a UFC champion. Now, Pereira looks to follow suit, returning to MMA in 2020 after already having had a brief stint from 2015 to 2016.
He’s currently 2-0 under the UFC banner, looking for a massive win over Strickland on July 2 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
What do you think of Israel Adesanya and his eagerness to fight Pereira in MMA? Sound off in the comments!