Reigning UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira has suggested that he'd like to return to the octagon in the month of May. Additionally, Pereira named former UFC middleweight champions Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker as potential opponents for his next fight.
Pereira has defeated Adesanya twice in the sport of kickboxing and once in MMA. Back in November 2022, 'Poatan' faced then-UFC middleweight champion Adesanya for the title. Pereira won their back-and-forth fight via fifth-round TKO and thereby became the new UFC middleweight champion.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, Alex Pereira indicated that he'll likely fight Israel Adesanya in a rematch next, ideally in May. Alternatively, he noted that he wouldn't force 'Izzy' to fight him. 'Poatan' highlighted that if Adesanya doesn't want to fight him next, he'll defend his belt against Robert Whittaker instead. Pereira stated:
“I see these two guys [next]... Adesanya was a dominant champion so he has the preference to be competing for the belt again, but if he doesn’t want that, it will be Whittaker. I don’t think they’ll put someone else in other than Whittaker. He already said his game doesn’t match well with Adesanya but would be a good fight with me, so I’ll be ready for both.”
Furthermore, Alex Pereira insinuated that he'd need a strong mind to fight an opponent he's already beaten thrice for the fourth time. 'Poatan' acknowledged that he wouldn't go into a possible fourth fight with Adesanya with the mindset that he'd easily win.
The Brazilian KO artist emphasized that he knows Israel Adesanya will always try to evolve and come back as a better fighter in their next clash, which is why he, too, is focused on continually improving.
Robert Whittaker reveals why he doesn't see an Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya fight materializing next
The current No. 2-ranked UFC middleweight Robert Whittaker has lost twice to the No. 1-ranked Israel Adesanya. Regardless, the consensus is that if Adesanya doesn't fight Alex Pereira next, Whittaker could receive the next title shot. Speaking to Fox News Australia, Whittaker recently echoed similar sentiments.
'The Reaper' suggested that Israel Adesanya probably shouldn't fight Alex Pereira right away and must rather let him (Whittaker) fight the middleweight kingpin.
He alluded that nothing's set in stone and that he can't accurately predict what the UFC has planned for its middleweights in March and April. Regardless, Whittaker called for a title shot against Pereira and said:
"I can very well see 'Izzy' [vs.] Pereira not happening. Izzy just letting me and Pereira punch on for a little bit. And then him sliding in to fight the winner, that makes perfect sense, you know? [Laughs] If you write it down."
Watch Whittaker's assessment below: