UFC champ Alex Pereira names 2 interesting options, prefers ‘bad’ pairing over easier fight

UFC light heavyweight champ Alex Pereira would like to test himself against Magomed Ankalaev.

By: Lucas Rezende | 3 months

The UFC light heavyweight champion may have just won the belt earlier this month, but that has not stopped him from thinking about potential next challengers.

Alex Pereira considers his next potential challengers

On his official YouTube channel (transcribed in Portuguese by Ag Fight), Alex Pereira discussed who he thought could pose interesting challenges for his first light heavyweight title defense. During the video, ‘Poatan’ named two athletes who are close to title contention and that have caught his attention.

The first was Magomed Ankalaev, who Pereira believes to be a more difficult outing due to the Russian’s wrestling game. The other was former champion Jamahal Hill, who’s mostly known for his striking, which also happens to be the Brazilians specialty. However, when given a choice between one of them, Poatan ended up choosing the more challenging of the two.

“I have heard a lot of people say this, that he would be a bad matchup for me. I like that,” Alex Pereira said, as translated by Bloody Elbow. “If there were only two guys available for me today, Hill or Ankalaev, if I had to choose one of them. Thinking like that, Hill would be a better matchup, of course, I’m always thinking about winning. It wouldn’t be a sure thing, but it would be better for me.”

“Ankalaev would be more difficult. I think it’s a really good challenge for me. It would be harder, I agree, but I’ve been training hard. I’ve been evolving with each session. I would have a strategy for Ankalaev, too, of course. If I could choose, I’d pick him over Hill.”

Pereira won two UFC titles in just seven fights

In his last outing, Alex Pereira (9-2) TKO’d former champion Jiri Prochazka to become the new UFC light heavyweight champ, on November 11. The victory came right after Poatan’s first one in the division, when he defeated another former title-holder in Jan Blachowicz, via split decision, in July of this year.

The win against Blachowicz made Pereira recover from his sole UFC loss so far, when he got knocked out by longtime rival in their rematch at UFC 291, in April 2023. Before that, the 36-year-old was on a four-fight winning streak in the promotion, with wins over Adesanya, Sean Strickland, Bruno Silva and Andreas Michailidis.

MMA: UFC 295 - Prochazka vs Pereira Nov 11, 2023; New York, NY, USA; Alex Pereira (blue gloves) celebrates after beating Jiri Prochazka (red gloves) during UFC 295 at Madison Square Garden. New York Madison Square Garden NY USA, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY 20231112_pjc_cc1_115
Who’s next for Alex Pereira after becoming a two-division UFC champ? | Wendell Cruz / USA TODAY Network, IMAGO

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About the author
Lucas Rezende
Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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