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Alex Pereira

Alex Pereira

Alex Pereira prepared to fight Robert Whittaker for next title defense if Israel Adesanya rematch doesn’t happen

Reigning UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira has a backup plan in mind in case his rematch with former champion Israel Adesanya doesn’t come to fruition for his first title defense. Pereira won the undisputed title from Adesanya when they met at UFC 281 in November, in what has been a long running rivalry between the two.

Before making his move to MMA and signing with the UFC in 2021, Alex Pereira owned two victories over Adesanya in the sport of kickboxing, and as “The Last Stylebender” was defending his championship throne, Pereira was preparing to come take it. It all came to fruition last November when “Poatan” pulled off a shocker, getting a fifth-round standing TKO victory over Adesanya in what was just his fourth fight with the UFC promotion.

As he prepares for the first UFC title defense of his career, Pereira is not only open to facing Adesanya for the fourth time in his career, but he also recently said that if the fight can’t come together, he’s open to face former champion, Robert Whittaker. In an interview with Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting, the reigning middleweight champion says he sees both of them as his next opponents and he’ll be ready for both men no matter who he is scheduled to fight next.

“I see these two guys. Adesanya was a dominant champion so he has the preference to be competing for the belt again, but if he doesn’t want that, it will be Whittaker. I don’t think they’ll put someone else in other than Whittaker. He already said his game doesn’t match well with Adesanya but would be a good fight with me, so I’ll be ready for both.” (H/T MMA Fighting)

After handing Adesanya his first defeat in the middleweight division, Alex Pereira says he’s not going to stop the former champion from getting a rematch if that’s what he wants, but if he doesn’t and Whittaker does want the fight, he’s open to that as well.

“I won’t do anything to hurt Adesanya’s plans and avoid this fight. If that’s what he wants, we’ll fight. If for some reason he doesn’t want to fight me, that makes no difference to me, it’ll be Whittaker instead. And if Whittaker doesn’t want it, there are several others that do.”

Although he holds three wins over Israel Adesanya, two in kickboxing and one massive title victory in mixed martial arts, Pereira says that won’t stop him from having a fourth fight against him.

“I try to forget what has happened. If we think about having three wins over someone and think it’s going to be easy, I said it before the third fight, that it makes no difference, I can’t cross my arms and expect him to go out in front of me. He’ll always try to evolve and come a better fighter, and I have to be better than last time to be fighting this guy because it will be a tough fight.”

Targeting his return to come later this spring, potentially in the month of May, it certainly feels as if the rematch between Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya could be next, but if it’s not, Robert Whittaker could have another opportunity to win his title back.

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