Johnny Walker has weighed in on Alex Pereira's recent announcement that he (Pereira) is moving up to the UFC light heavyweight division. Walker also discussed a possible matchup against 'Poatan.'
Alex Pereira is coming off his fourth combat sports encounter against archrival Israel Adesanya. Pereira beat Adesanya via unanimous decision in 2016 and by a third-round KO in 2017 in their kickboxing matches. Moreover, in their first MMA encounter, which took place in November 2022, Pereira bested 'Izzy' via fifth-round TKO to win the UFC middleweight title.
Regardless, Israel Adesanya reclaimed the title by beating Alex Pereira via second-round KO in their MMA rematch at UFC 287 on April 8, 2023. Following that, Pereira announced that he would move up to the light heavyweight division next.
In an interview with James Lynch for MiddleEasy, Johnny Walker addressed his scheduled light heavyweight bout against Anthony Smith that will transpire at a UFC Fight Night event on May 13. He was notably asked about Pereira's move to the light heavyweight division. Walker responded by stating:
"Just come. Everyone's going to be happy to welcome him [Pereira]."
Walker was also asked whether he sees himself fighting 'Poatan' someday. He replied by saying:
"Yeah, whatever it takes. I'm happy. This is what I do for a living. I don't pick fights. Whatever UFC book for me, I'll accept, and I'll be happy. Make a camp, train, and go there -- Mission accomplished."
Watch Walker discuss the topic at 9:52 in the video below:
Alex Pereira's light heavyweight announcement elicits a response from UFC champion Jamahal Hill
In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Alex Pereira suggested that he's done with the middleweight division for now and will compete at light heavyweight moving forward. However, 'Poatan' warned that if Israel Adesanya continues his provocations, he could return to middleweight and fight 'Izzy' again. 'Poatan' said:
"My next fight will be at 205 [pounds]. Yeah, you heard right. I think I did my work and now I'm feeling good to go up to 205... This division 185, I always made weight... But now it's the moment for me to go to the next division."
Watch Pereira's announcement below:
Reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill subsequently chimed in on Alex Pereira's decision to move up to his division. Speaking to InsideFighting, 'Sweet Dreams' opined that he foresees a dominant victory for himself in a possible showdown against Pereira.
'Poatan' has consistently expressed his desire to capture the UFC light heavyweight belt. In regards to Pereira's move to light heavyweight and a potential fight against him, Hill stated:
"I'm here for everybody... Dominant victory for me. Dominant. I’m going to dominate him.”
Watch Hill's assessment below: