Michel Pereira’s hype train didn’t last long into his UFC career. After a stunning flying knee knockout of Danny Roberts in his debut, the wild welterweight was halted by Tristan Connelly in the next outing. It was a loss many fans chalked up to the Brazilian not taking the bout seriously, and trying too many jumping and spinning techniques—causing him to gas early and eventually lose a unanimous decision.
Now paired up against veteran Diego Sanchez at UFC Rio Rancho, Pereira tells Combate he wants to silence his critics, and show he has not been figured out. But, that doesn’t mean he will change his style of fighting, coming off his latest defeat.
“I always knew people would criticize me when I made a mistake, just like Anderson (Silva). Everyone loved Anderson when he pulled those things off and won. I think he is a really good example. When he put on a show, everyone liked it, then he lost because of a mistake and everyone criticized him. I looked at that and have always been aware of the risk that people would criticize me when I made a mistake and lost. It’s not everyone, many people appreciate what I do, but some people don’t understand what they’re talking about, so they criticize. It’s normal, it’s part of the show. If nobody criticized, it wouldn’t be fun. It’s important because we’re going to turn things around and shut up the critics.”
When it comes to matchmaking, though, ‘Demolidor’ can’t complain. In his opinion, the ‘Nightmare’ is one of the best fighters he could have been paired up with in the UFC’s roster. That’s largely due to Sanchez’s wild nature, and tendency to get into brawls—which leads Pereira to believe their fight will be the best one of the night.
“It’s going to be a war. I believe we’ll have the fight of the night. We’ll put on a show for everybody, I’m going out there to put on a show again. I want to please the UFC and the fans who appreciate my work, and have a good fight against him. You can expect the same Michel you saw in my first fight and in the first round of my second fight. I’m that guy. I’m going for the knockout, I’m sure we’ll win ‘fight of the night’ or I’ll win ‘knockout of the night’ because I’ve been training hard and I’m really focused. When I put my hands on him and start hitting him, he’ll get lost. He won’t know what to do.”
Michel Pereira is expected to take on Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 167, in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, on February 15. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz.