Former UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira turned a few heads back after UFC 287 with the announcement that he was leaving the middleweight division to go fight at light heavyweight. The news wasn’t exactly unexpected, however. After all, standing 6’4″ and with a 79″ reach, Pereira has a frame that would rival most heavyweights. Still, fresh off a loss to longtime rival Israel Adesanya, it seemed like there was still work left to do at 185 lbs.
Among those disappointed to see Pereira leave the division for a new weight class is a former UFC middleweight legend. None other than the ‘Spider’ himself, Anderson Silva. Silva recently gave his thoughts on his countryman’s future, and why he believes leaving on a loss was a less than ideal path to take.
Anderson Silva wanted Alex Pereira to win back the belt
In an interview with Combate, Silva addressed Pereira’s decision to move up to light heavyweight, and why, despite his friendship with the former kickboxing star, he felt it was the wrong move. For the Spider, ‘Poatan’ should have waited and, ideally, won back the middleweight belt before testing the waters at a heavier divison.
“The way I see it, his strategy of going up a weight class was a bit mistaken,” Silva admitted. “I think he should have stayed in the (middleweight) division, won back the title, keep it and then move up to light heavyweight in the future. He has his own strategies alongside his business partners, though. Alex is a great friend. he only deserves good things. He has great potential to become a huge UFC star. One who can keep on bringing joy to the Brazilian people.”
Silva had four LHW fights with the UFC
Anderson Silva’s point of view may come from his own experience. During his UFC tenure, the Spider had four light heavyweights outings, winning three via knockout against James Irvin, Forrest Griffin, and Stephan Bonnar. His lone loss at 205 came against former double champion Daniel Cormier, who took a unanimous decision from the then 41-year-old.
Despite making similar moves himself, over the years, before he ever took the plunge into the heavier weight class, Silva he already had three middleweight title defenses, against Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt and Dan Henderson. It’s perhaps not that surprising that Silva would see Pereira’s lack of commitment to a division where he had proven he could be champion as something less than ideal.
Anderson Silva (34-11-1 NC) retired from MMA following a TKO loss to Uriah Hall in October 2020. During his career, the Spider defeated the most notable names of the middleweight division at the time, such as Vitor Belfort, Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen, Yushin Okami and the aforementioned Henderson, and Franklin to name a few.
Alex Pereira is facing former champ Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291
Meanwhile, Alex Pereira (7-2) had a four-fight winning streak in the Octagon before he lost to Israel Adesanya via knockout in their fourth encounter. Prior to the loss, the 35-year-old scored victories over Andreas Michailidis, Bruno Silva, Sean Strickland and the ‘Last Stylebender’.
Pereira is currently expected to take on former champion Jan Blachowicz in his light heavyweight debut at UFC 291, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The July 29 card is scheduled to be headlined by a lightweight match for the whimsical BMF title between former interim champions Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier.
You know you can count on us for quick, consistent quality UFC coverage. Bloody Elbow is an independent, reader supported publication. Please subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with our best work and learn how you can support the site
Join the new Bloody Elbow
Our Substack is where we feature the work of writers like Zach Arnold, John Nash and Karim Zidan. We’re fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please help us by subscribing today.
About the author