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‘Closest’ path to Adesanya? - Alex Pereira calls out Jared Cannonier after UFC win

Pereira is aiming for a big step up in competition for his next UFC appearance. 

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Now 2-0 since joining the UFC, Alex Pereira is ready for a step up in competition.

Pereira earned a unanimous decision over Bruno Silva at UFC Vegas 50 this past Saturday, and the former two-time Glory kickboxing champion would like a bigger name for his next fight. During his post-fight interview with Paul Felder, ‘Po Atan’ mentioned the No. 2 ranked middleweight contender in Jared Cannonier as an ideal opponent.

“Now that the fight is over…any name,” said Pereira. “I’ve been seeing [Jared] Cannonier doing a great job, almost in line for the title. I would love to face him.”

Pereira then elaborated on his request in his post-fight interview with assembled media. Because he is close to a championship opportunity against current champion Israel Adesanya, a win over Cannonier would put him in a prime position to fight his former foe in kickboxing.

“I said over there Cannonier because I think he’s the closest to the title shot,” said Pereira (video provided by MMA Junkie). “Almost everybody is saying [me against] Adesanya, so I don’t think I’m talking too much calling out Cannonier.”

The 34-year-old has met Adesanya twice, defeating him via unanimous decision at Glory of Heroes in 2016 and knocking out him at Glory of Heroes 7 in 2017. It is no secret that Pereira wants to fight ‘The Last Stylebender’ again, so he hopes he can fast-track his way to him in what could be a No. 1 contender in the middleweight division.

However, Pereira may have to wait for that fight with Cannonier as the ‘Killa Gorilla’ is poised to challenge Adesanya for gold soon. Cannonier violently finished Derek Brunson with elbows at UFC 271, where he immediately requested a title shot. UFC president Dana White had no issue with giving him one, and all signs point to Adesanya vs. Cannonier in the near future.

That would leave the Brazilian without the fight he wants, but he is fine with continuing to show his growth as a mixed martial artist in the meantime.

“I had two great fights and I was able to showcase my skills,” said Pereira. “I didn’t show everything that I go throughout my daily basis training with Glover Teixeira’s gym, being able to improve and evolve every day. Where I am in the division? I don’t know. I think I’ll let the promoters talk and they’ll know where to properly put me in.”

Pereira made his highly anticipated debut at UFC 268, where he finished Andreas Michailidis with a flying knee in the first round.