When UFC president Dana White announced Jan Blachowicz vs. Alex Pereira as official for UFC 291, ‘Po Atan’ said he was excited to have a fight against someone as ‘dangerous’ as the former UFC champion. To Pereira, the Polish fighter was exactly who he wanted for his first fight after moving from middleweight to light heavyweight.
“Everybody knows Blachowicz is a dangerous guy, an all-rounder,” said Pereira on his official YouTube channel. “But I think it’s a good first fight for me. When I say my first fight, some people will think, ‘Oh, that’s an easy opponent.’ No, all of you know my story. I was [UFC] middleweight champion. So, for sure, they wanted to give me one one of the top-five ranked. For me, it wasn’t a surprise. We were negotiating for a while. I was waiting for him. So that’s it. I’m happy about the fight.”
Jan Blachowicz asked the UFC for Alex Pereira
As it turns out, Blachowicz was also waiting for Pereira—who he says he wanted after the Brazilian’s recent loss to Israel Adesanya at UFC 287 this past April. Once the former UFC champion announced his move, the 40-year-old went to the promotion with one request.
“When I heard that he would come to our division, so I just want to fight against him,” said Blachowicz on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “I talked with my manager and they did this fight. It was easy. I said, ‘OK, give it to me.’ Why not?”
Shortly after setting up the booking, Blachowicz vs. Pereira was announced as the co-headliner of UFC 291, the upcoming pay-per-view event scheduled for July 29 at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Jan Blachowicz reveals title shot on the line
Aside from wanting Pereira as a new challenge, Jan Blachowicz also wanted another championship opportunity, which he could receive with a win against the Brazilian. In his most recent appearance, the Berkut WCA Fight Team product fought to a split draw against Magomed Ankalaev at UFC 282 for the then-vacant UFC light heavyweight championship.
Instead of an immediate rematch, UFC president Dana White went with Glover Teixeira vs. Jamahal Hill at UFC 283, where ‘Sweet Dreams’ dominated Teixeira. Among his list of potential challengers was Blachowicz, who said he was one win away from challenging Hill. For Blachowicz, he expects that win to come against Pereira.
“If I win the fight, my next fight will be for the title,” said Blachowicz. “So I’m happy. It’s bigger motivation for me, and thanks to Alex that he moved to our category: new blood.
“I’d like to know what place I am right now. It’s very good for me that after this fight, my next fight will be for the title. I’m just happy to take the belt again to Poland. But first of all, I need to focus on this fight.”
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