Back in April, the former long-time middleweight champion regained his 185-pound belt in a rematch with Pereira, just five months after losing it in their first meeting inside the octagon. Since then, Sean Strickland was able to defeat Adesanya in their 5-round battle in September at UFC 293, resulting in the title changing hands once again.
But, the rivalry between Adesanya and Pereira started long before either was a part of the UFC.
Alex Pereira appears to be moving on after calling Israel Adesanya out for another fight 👀
— MMA Fighting (@MMAFighting) December 20, 2023
Back in 2015, Adesanya first met “Poatan” in a kickboxing match, which he lost by way of unanimous decision. In 2016, the two met for a rematch, and Pereira once again got the best of Adesanya, finishing him in the third round.
Pereira defeated Jiri Prochazka in November to earn the light heavyweight title. While he called for a trilogy fight with Adesanya immediately following the win, it seems his tune has shifted
“It doesn’t matter for me,” Pereira said via a Portuguese translator at a recent Q&A in France hosted by Ares FC. “I called him out in the cage after the title win, and I wanted to give him the chance, and I saw he was not giving me any respect for this – he was laughing about it and making some jokes.
“So for me, it doesn’t matter anymore. I gave him the chance. If he comes up, nice; if he doesn’t, it doesn’t matter.”
Prior to Adesanya’s loss to Strickland, he had said that he may be interested in fighting Pereira at 205-pounds, but since, he has expressed no interest in moving up in weight. In fact, “The Last Stylebender” claims to be taking an extended period of time off from fighting.
“I doubt if he really wants to fight me because, talking serious, he won once against me,” Pereira said. “It was his dream to win against me, he did it. So now getting into this cage again with me, he knows everything can happen, and he can lose again, so I’m really doubting if he’s motivated to fight me again.
“Like I said, I never choose my opponents. I don’t know what happens in the future, but I never choose. If he wants to fight, I welcome him in the cage.”