Recent Octagon debutante, Alex Pereira has his reservations regarding current UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya’s desire to score a third professional fight against him – in a bid to avenge a pair of prior kickboxing losses.
Sao Paulo native, Pereira returns to the Octagon this weekend in the main card opener of UFC Vegas 50 – tacking his compatriot and fellow knockout artist, Bruno Silva in a bout that promises fireworks.
In her long-awaited UFC debut last November at Madison Square Garden, Pereira improved his professional mixed martial arts record to 4-1 with a staggering flying knee knockout win over Andreas Michailidis.
The former GLORY Kickboxing middleweight and light heavyweight champion created much verve with his signing to the UFC, given his storied and well-documented history with current middleweight champion, Adesanya.
Twice sharing the squared circle with the Nigerian-Kiwi, Pereira first landed a close, contentious unanimous decision win over Adesanya – before handing the City Kickboxing staple his sole professional knockout loss across combat sports with a massive counter left hook knockout in a 2017 rematch.
Given his exploits against Adesanya and decorated career in kickboxing since his pair of victories, Pereira has been linked to a fast track to a middleweight title shot against Adesanya, however, he doubts the “scared” champion would face him for the third time.
“Man, have you seen me fighting before?” Alex Pereira said during an interview with Guilherme Cruz on the Trocacao Fanca podcast. “It’s hard, right? How does this guy (Israel Adesanya) 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 have said] f*ck, [book it] right away.”
“The respect he (Israel Adesanya) 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.”
Pereira, who further failed to rule out an immediate title shot agaisnt Adesanya with a win over Silva this weekend, claimed the champion was taking his fan base for a ride.
“Someone crazy for a fight will say, ‘I want this guy, I want to prove I’m better than him.’” Alex Pereira said. “He’s (Israel Adesanya) 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 follow me,’ but that’s not what he’s doing. He’s scared sh*t. Like Glover (Teixeira) says, he’s scared sh*t.”
While Pereira welcomes a future middleweight title tilt against Adesanya, the defending champion is widely expected to return to the Octagon in June or July of this year for another title defense against the surging #2 ranked contender, Jared Cannonier.