Israel Adesanya is wasting no time setting up his next Middleweight title defense against Alex Pereira.
Both Adesanya and Pereira just competed at UFC 276 on July 2, 2022. But, considering both of them came out of their respective wins relatively unharmed, we could see the two former kickboxers battling it out in the Octagon sooner than one might think.
In a new 25-minute interview on Izzy’s FREESTYLEBENDER YouTube account, Adesanya confirmed he was fighting Pereira next and teased a date for the scrap.
“Yes, when do I want it? We’ve got a date,” he said. “We’ve already sussed it out, we’re already planning, we’re sussed with it.”
With UFC’s pay-per-view (PPV) schedule only booked up to UFC 278: “Usman vs. Edwards 2” in August, there are several shows without a main event an Adesanya vs. Pereira fight could headline.
UFC 279 goes down on Sept. 10, and UFC 280 is on Oct. 8, 2022. UFC 281 is UFC’s big Abu Dhabi card on Oct. 22, and then we’re expecting a stacked return to Madison Square Garden in New York sometime early November.
Given Adesanya dissatisfaction with his “off night” against Jared Cannonier, it could be sooner rather than later.
“For me, I’m like, I just know I could have put him away in spectacular fashion,” Adesanya said in the same interview. “And it’s just like, ‘f—k!’ It’s not even about people, but I hate eating my own words. I’m like, ‘F—k!’ I won the fight, it was a good fight, I just hate, ‘Uuugh, I could have done better.’ And I did, I put everything I could, but I could have done better.”
Pereira comes into his title fight against Israel Adesanya with a unique history: he holds two wins over the champion from back when they were both competing in kickboxing. One was a decision win, and then several months later he knocked Adesanya out cold. It would be Izzy’s last kickboxing bout before focusing full-time on mixed martial arts (MMA).
⚡️ Throwback Thursday..... 2017!— Mikey Thomas (@MikeyThomas1991) January 7, 2021
Alex Pereira KO’s Adesanya :
Glory of Heroes: Shenzhen pic.twitter.com/wtnDTRmlfT
For his part, Pereira sounds eager to prove what he can do against Adesanya in the Octagon.
“He’s going to have to look better next time,” Pereira said through a translator at UFC 276’s post-fight press conference. “If he looks like that, it’s no good. He’s been watching my development. He knows I’m dangerous, he knows the risk he would be taking. He will have to look better, for sure. He’ll look better and I’ll make him get the fans thrilled.”