Alex Pereira is on course for a UFC title shot. The impressive middleweight seems the obvious choice to next face champion Israel Adesanya thanks to three impressive victories in the Octagon, including—most recently—a brutal KO over Sean Strickland.
Pereira’s chances of facing ‘The Last StyleBender’ are also aided by the fact the pair have a storied history.
The Brazilian holds two victories over Adesanya from their time competing in GLORY kickboxing. One of those victories is a knockout (the only KO loss of Adesanya’s combat sports career).
Adesanya knows full well that Pereira is being fast-tracked to a title shot. He’s been peppering his future opponent with threats and trash talk. But it seems ‘Poatan’ is unaffected by the noise.
When he appeared on The MMA Hour recently he admitted that Adesanya’s trash talk is failing because he doesn’t understand the pop culture references that are being deployed. In particular, Pereira spoke about being told he would be “Frozen like Elsa”, a reference to the Ice Queen heroine in Disney’s animated feature film Frozen.
“I had a bit rough and difficult life,” Pereira revealed (ht MMA Fighting). “I started working in a tire shop when I was 12, so my childhood was cut off early because I had to work, so I didn’t watch many cartoons, movies and series. Sometimes you’ll ask me something and I won’t know how to answer and I’ll just say I didn’t watch it. Some people will say I’m an arrogant person, but my childhood was different. Most of my childhood was busy with work and trying to help provide to my family.
“Sometimes I see [Adesanya] doing cartoon stuff that, to me, doesn’t make any sense, because I don’t even know who Frozen is. I’m not being arrogant, I’m not being ignorant — I just didn’t even know up until that point who Frozen was. If you’re going to freeze me, I guess it’s related to ice? I don’t know. I wasn’t getting it.”
Pereira went on to say that, even when he does understand what Adesanya is saying he’s not very impressed.
“First, I don’t speak English. And even if I did, the look on my face would be the same, because he said he would make [the Jared Cannonier] fight look easy and he didn’t. Goes there and it’s something else. I don’t [do that]. People already have expectations. I lay low, stay silent. ‘Alex, are you going to knock him out?’ ‘No, I just wanna do a good fight.’ I go there and knock him out and people be like, ‘Damn, awesome.’ People start to see who Alex Pereira is.
“This Frozen stuff, Naruto, Dragon Ball Z — to me, makes no sense whatsoever. People that understand and believe in the cartoon might be influenced, ‘Oh, he’s going to freeze him.’ He’ll freeze me like the cartoon. Is he? But, how? I don’t know how he’s going to freeze me. Is he putting me in the fridge? Is that it? I don’t know how this cartoon works.”
Pereira has a 6-1 MMA record. He is undefeated since returning from a four-year MMA hiatus in 2020.
His first fight since permanently switching to MMA was in LFA. There, he KO’d Thomas Powell. He signed for the UFC shortly after.
Pereira debuted in the Octagon the following year with a flying knee TKO over Andreas Michailidis. He followed that up with a unanimous decision over Bruno Silva.
His KO win over Strickland at last month’s UFC 276 earned Pereira a Performance of the Night bonus.