Michael Bisping thinks Alex Pereira might be the man to dethrone reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Pereira is 2-0 over Adesanya under kickboxing rules, KO’ing ‘The Last Stylebender’ in their second fight at Glory of Heroes 7 in ‘Poatan’s’ hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Pereira made the full-time switch to MMA after signing with the UFC in 2021, and the Brazilian knockout artist is already knocking on the door of title contention following a first-round knockout victory over top-ten middleweight Sean Strickland at UFC 276.
Here’s what Bisping had to say about Pereira’s chances against Adesanya in MMA during a recent episode of his podcast, Believe You Me (h/t MMA Fighting).
“What [Adesanya] did to Paulo Costa was f****** incredible,” Bisping said following Adesanya’s most recent title defense against Jared Cannonier. “Yoel Romero, Robert Whittaker twice, the list goes on. Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, taking out all the top guys. Derek Brunson, Jared Cannonier. There’s literally no one else. That’s why Pereira’s here, a breath of fresh air, a guy that I think, I don’t know, I think he might be the man to do it. I’m not saying that. Izzy’s a better kickboxer than Pereira, but Pereira seems a little nastier, he seems to have a little bit more power. He’s a little sloppier as well, but I understand why he’s going to get the next title shot.”
“Without a doubt [Pereira has the best chance to do it],” he continued. “When you see Izzy, the way he beats everybody, every time afterwards I’m like, ‘I’ll never underestimate him again.’ Because I thought Jared Cannonier was gonna — and then I always do! I don’t know why. And when I look at this one early on I’m like, ‘Oh, Pereira’s going to be the guy.’ But again, that is just so disrespectful to the body of work that [Adesanya]’s had. It’s not easy to stay on top like that, on your worst night... That’s what you’ve got to do as a champion, on your worst night, still become the champion. So every time you defended it against the No. 1 contender and Izzy’s done that six or seven times now.”
The UFC has all but confirmed Pereira as the next title challenger, so expect an official fight announcement in the coming weeks.