UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira claims that he offered to fight Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 283 in a light heavyweight bout.
Pereira won the UFC’s middleweight gold when he knocked out his former kickboxing rival Israel Adesanya at UFC 281. It was an incredible finish by Pereira, who came back after being down three rounds to one to win in the fifth and final round of the fight. For Pereira, beating Adesanya means he’s now the top dog at middleweight, so it’s no surprise he’s getting called out. In fact, almost immediately after winning the belt, Chimaev called for a fight against him.
While a Pereira vs. Chimaev fight certainly makes sense in the near future, it’s actually a fight that potentially could happen sooner rather than later, and possibly without gold on the line. In fact, according to the champ, he would be willing to fight Chimaev up at light heavyweight.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Pereira confirmed that he told his manager that he would be interested in fighting Chimaev at UFC 283 in January in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, Pereira says that Chimaev didn’t want to take the fight up a weight class.
“(I) went to (my) manager and said, ‘Look, I just did a hard weight cut, I can’t make (185) for this right now, but tell the UFC I’ll challenge him to fight me at 205 at (UFC 283) in Rio.’ Chimaev didn’t want it. He’s a big guy, (I’m) a big guy, let’s do it at light heavyweight so we don’t have to worry about a weight cut. We offered 205 for Rio,” Pereira said.
Chimaev later took to social media to suggest that he wasn’t offered the fight, so it will be interesting to see if these two actually do end up fighting one day. It seems unlikely they will clash at UFC 283 in January at 205lbs, but perhaps sometime next year we could see them both fight, though it would most likely be a middleweight title fight before anything else.
Who do you think would win between Alex Pereira and Khamzat Chimaev?
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