Brazilian mixed martial artist Alex Pereira has announced his decision to move up to light heavyweight after being knocked out by Israel Adesanya during their rematch at UFC 287. The former middleweight champion revealed on his YouTube channel that his next fight would be at the 205-pound class, saying that he feels good and that the move is natural.
“My next fight will be at 205,” Pereira said. “Yeah, you heard right. My next fight will be at 205. I think I did my work at 185, and now I’m feeling good to go up to 205. Like I told you, when I’m feeling good, I will go up. This will be something natural, and now I think it is.”
Pereira also clarified that his decision to move up has nothing to do with his struggles to cut weight to 185 pounds. Still, he believes moving up to the next weight class will be more beneficial for him.
Following Pereira’s announcement, former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Volkan Oezdemir took to Instagram to challenge Pereira. The Swiss fighter currently has an uneven 3-6 record since his unsuccessful bid to capture the 205-pound title from Daniel Cormier back in 2018.
While commentators like Cormier and Henry Cejudo believe that a rubber match between the pair is the logical next step, UFC president Dana White believes that Pereira’s future lies in the light heavyweight division.
The 35-year-old’s first loss in the organization was to Adesanya in the middleweight class. However, despite their series being tied at 1-1 in MMA, Pereira holds two previous wins over Adesanya in kickboxing.
“No matter what, Alex is a great champion,” Adesanya said after defeating Pereira. “He lost the belt tonight, but he will always be a champion. In his story, I’m the antagonist. In his story, I’m the bad guy. But tonight, it’s my story. History.”
However, Pereira also teased a possible rematch with Adesanya. In the video, he addressed Adesanya’s post-fight comments, which supposedly claimed that Pereira would never make the weight again.
“I’m sure if I insisted on fighting him immediately, the UFC and my promoters will make it happen. So we will see how Adesanya will behave now and hereinafter. I make this very clear to all of you,” Pereira said.
Meanwhile, Cejudo urged the former kickboxer to reconsider his decision to move to light heavyweight, insisting that Pereira must push for a rematch with Adesanya to punish “The Last Stylebender” for his disrespectful behavior towards Pereira’s son.
“He pointed at your son and did what he did. You cannot let things settle this way… As a father, I want you to return and do what needs to be done,” the former UFC flyweight champion said.
Although fans eagerly anticipate a future fight between Adesanya and Pereira, there are also exciting prospects for Pereira in the 205-pound weight class.
The division has many skilled strikers. It will be intriguing to see if Pereira, a top-level kickboxer, can rise through the ranks and compete for the championship in a different weight class.