Alex Pereira's rise to becoming the UFC middleweight champion has been meteoric. It took the Brazilian only three fights in the promotion to be granted a title shot, and he made it count against a familiar foe in Israel Adesanya.
The difference in terms of the physical size between Adesanya and Pereira in their UFC 281 main event matchup was quite evident. Pereira looked significantly bigger, prompting many to believe he should compete in a heavier division.
In that context, former UFC middleweight challenger Chael Sonnen recently opined that it'll happen sooner rather than later. In a Q&A with fans on his YouTube channel, Sonnen stated:
"But I also believe 185 [middleweight] is about to be a vacated title. I think that Pereira is going to move up."
Check out Sonnen's comments in the video below:
Sonnen also stated in a previous video that the vacant title would be contested by two former middleweight champions who have already fought each other twice. He explained that Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker will fight for a third time after Pereira relinquishes the title:
"That division of 185 is going to be left wide open. And as far as who you're going to book against Adesanya, who you're going to book against Whittaker, it's likely going to be for a vacated championship. Now that's a hot take and not a lot of people share that opinion with me. Alex Pereira is not going to stay at 185 pounds any longer than he has to."
Alex Pereira's future will be decided by Glover Teixeira's result against Jamahal Hill, per Chael Sonnen
Chael Sonnen had previously stated that Alex Pereira's potential decision to move up would hinge on Glover Teixeira's result against Jamahal Hill in the light heavyweight title fight at UFC 283:
"I think Pereira's involvement in 185 pounds has a lot to do with Glover's outcome this Saturday. If Glover wins on Saturday, becomes the world champion, I think you're going to hear an announcement of an Alex Pereira fight within two weeks. And it will be at 185 pounds. But if Glover doesn't win, I think you're going to hear an announcement of an Alex Pereira fight somewhere soon within the next two weeks but it's going to be at 205 pounds [light heavyweight]."
The mutual respect between the two friends has led to an agreement against competing in the same division so far. But with Teixeira's loss and subsequent retirement at UFC 283, the road is clear for Pereira to move up and challenge for the title at light heavyweight.
Check out Chael Sonnen's comments on his YouTube: