Israel Adesanya says his rivalry with Alex Pereira is over after UFC 287

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya says his rivalry with Alex Pereira is no more.

By: Kristen King | 6 months ago
Israel Adesanya says his rivalry with Alex Pereira is over after UFC 287
Israel Adesanya after his win against Alex Pereira at UFC 287. | Imago/Zuma Wire

Israel Adesanya says his rivalry with Alex Pereira has come to an end.

Israel Adesanya says rivalry with Alex Pereira is settled

The ‘Last Stylebender’ recaptured the UFC middleweight championship with a second-round KO of Pereira at UFC 287 this past Saturday. It was the first win in a series of four fights — two in kickboxing and two in mixed martial arts — for Adesanya, who officially declared the Pereira chapter of his career over. 

Though 1-1 in the UFC, Adesanya saw no need for a potential trilogy. And if Pereira wants it, he should have to fight his way through a slew of contenders again. 

“I don’t keep score, I settle them,” said Adesanya at his post-fight press conference. “Now it’s settled. Look, I gave him a fast track to the belt. I could’ve said, ‘Nah, f—k no. Who has he fought?’ He fought one top-five fighter. But no. He did well, fought some alright guys and beat f—king [Sean] Strickland and I was like, ‘Okay, fine. There’s no one else.’ But also, I was looking for that challenge — the guy that beat me in kickboxing. I was looking for that challenge. That’s why I took that fight. 

“The rematch — I got the immediate rematch because of what I’ve done in this game,” continued Adesanya. “I won the belt against Kelvin [Gastelum]. I defended against Rob [Whittaker], [Yoel] Romero, [Paulo] Costa, [Marvin] Vettori, Rob again, [Jared] Cannonier — that’s seven. My belt would have seven f—king gems on it, so I did the hard yards and I earned my f—king rematch. Now he’s gotta do the hard yards if he wants to do that, but I don’t think he’s gonna because he [could] go cause problems at 205. And f—k, good luck to everybody else because he’s a motherf—ker to deal with. I’ll tell you that.”

Israel Adesanya discusses post-fight exchange

Despite their previous history, Adesanya and Pereira have shown respect to each other throughout all of it. The City Kickboxing product even discussed the post-fight exchange he had with his former foe. 

“I saw him backstage. We’re cool,” said Adesanya. “He’s a great champion. He’s a warrior. His story, bro, I mean that. I’m the antagonist in his story. He’s a f—king beast, man. Coming from where he’s come from, the adversities he’s been through in his life to get to where he’s gotten now and taking me out the way he has is a f—king beautiful story for him. But like I said, tonight, it’s not about his story. It’s about my story, which is history.” 

What comes next for Israel Adesanya?

Now a two-time UFC middleweight champion, Adesanya addressed what comes next. At this time, the 33-year-old wanted to enjoy his win over Pereira before returning to the Octagon this year. As for an opponent, Adesanya mentioned a nameless middleweight who he wants to “see something“ from before granting him a potential championship opportunity.

“I want to whoop his ass so bad,“ said Adesanya. “I want to do it in South Africa or Nigeria. But he’s gotta do work. He’s gotta do something. Show me something so I can whoop that ass and I can show you history. I’ll remind you.

“You gotta choose your words wisely when you speak on people who have come before you,“ continued Adesanya. “People who have paved the way for you. You gotta pick your words wisely. You want to try and be a big boy. You want to eat with the big boys. You gotta choose your words wisely, but I don’t want to give him no clout. If he does work, and I pray to God he keeps winning. I will gladly drag his carcass through South Africa.“

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About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

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