The new UFC middleweight champion sounds like he’s ready to accept whoever may come for his first title defense. After defeating Israel Adesanya via TKO at UFC 281, Alex Pereira says he does not care what the UFC has in mind for his next fight. That said, ‘Po Atan’ also had some advice for the ‘Last Stylebender’.
Having defeated the man twice already in kickboxing, Pereira told ESPN Brazil that, in his opinion, Adesanya should not make any decisions about his career at the moment—including jumping right back into another title fight. However, if the former champion really requests an immediate rematch, the Teixeira MMA & Fitness fighter revealed he would be glad to grant him one.
“It makes no difference to me if it’s him (Adesanya) or another guy,” Pereira admitted. “If I were him, though, I’d say ‘I’m not fighting right now. I’m going to wait a little, think about what I’m going to do’. Since he wants it, though. I mean, he used to be the champion. If he really wants it, he has earned the right because he has five title defenses,”
“We had a good fight,” Pereira added. “He did catch me at one point, so he believes he can beat me. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll fight him, that’s no problem. If there are two guys. Adesanya and some other guy, I’d pick Adesanya, if I’m being honest. I’m not picking another guy just not to give Adesanya the chance. If he really wants it, then he’s next.”
Heading into his bout against Adesanya, Pereira (7-1) was on a three-fight winning streak in the UFC, with victories over Andreas Michailidis, Bruno Silva and Sean Strickland. The 35-year-old’s sole MMA loss took place in October 2015, when he got submitted by Quemuel Ottoni.