Luke Rockhold doesn't rate Alex Pereira highly and believes that the Brazilian will taste defeat against most fighters in the middleweight division. Pereira joined the UFC in November last year and is set to fight for the title at UFC 281 despite having fought just thrice inside the octagon.
He earned himself a title shot against Israel Adesanya by putting away Sean Strickland via first-round knockout at UFC 276 back in July. Rockhold believes that the UFC has handpicked opponents for 'Poatan' thus far to set up a clash between him and Adesanya, who have fought each other in a pair of kickboxing bouts in the past.
Although he acknowledges that Pereira is a dangerous knockout artist on the feet, Rockhold claims that the Brazilian fighter doesn't have the required experience to hang inside the cage with world-class grapplers like himself. During a recent interaction with Sportskeeda MMA's Andrew Whitelaw, the former middleweight champion said:
"If he [Adesanya] doesn't have the title [following UFC 281] they might as well just give me the title because that Brazilian has no chance against the likes of me. Come on, dude, that guy's like Bambi out there, you know what I mean? They've groomed this kid and they put him up there... That guy is like a deer in the headlights... He's a killer for sure on the feet but in MMA against the right people, which are a lot of people, that guy loses to the majority of middleweights. He loses to the majority."
Watch our full interview with Rockhold below:
Luke Rockhold explains why upcoming fight is "a testament" of his true character
Luke Rockhold is set to take on Paulo Costa this weekend at UFC 278. The fight will mark his return to the octagon after three years. Rockhold has lost three out of his last four fights and will be looking to get back to winning ways when he takes on Costa.
'The Eraser', meanwhile, suffered back-to-back losses in his last two fights with Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori. As per Luke Rockhold, both he and Costa have their backs to the wall and must win their next fight.
The 37-year-old former champion believes their upcoming clash will prove who has the strongest character between the two:
"He's hit that wall, he's hit a wall and this is where you find out who a real man is, you know. I've hit my wall too, of course, you know we both hit walls but it's like you know, it's a testament of one's true character who comes out on top now."