“I wanted new challenges”: Alex Pereira sheds light on Israel Adesanya’s interview that motivated him to pursue MMA career

Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira made history at Madison Square Garden by defeating his biggest rival Israel Adesanya via TKO at UFC 285. Pereira who was previously a world champion kickboxer had already beaten his fellow kickboxer Adesanya twice before entering the octagon.

Pereira who will face Adesanya in the rematch this Saturday explains his motivation to start a new career in MMA despite being a major success in kickboxing.  

Referring to an interview Adesanya gave back in 202o, Pereira said “When Israel Adesanya joined the UFC, I started taking a close look because I had interest in fighting in MMA,” Pereira said during the UFC 287 Countdown.

“There is a video of an interview with Israel Adesanya that motivated me so much.” The 35-year-old further explained how that interview motivated him to pursue a career in MMA, “I felt challenged,” he said. “And whenever there’s a challenge, no one can hold me back. I wanted new challenges, and the UFC was it.”

“He watches all my fights, and every time I fight, like clockwork, he’d try to put something out like, ‘I beat this guy,’” The 33-year-old said. “At the end of the day, no one knows who the f*ck he is, and he’s going to be that guy when I’m world champion, when I’m a legend, he’s going to be at some pub talking sh*t about, ‘I beat that guy one time.’”

How is Alex Pereira preparing for his rematch against Israel Adesanya?

Even though Alex Pereira is the current UFC middleweight champion, anyone who watched his last fight with Adesanya would know that if it wasn’t for the last-round knockout, Pereira would have certainly lost the fight on the judges’ scorecard.

As for this fight, Pereira looks dialed in, he knows a defeat in this bout would eventually book another fight between him and Adesanya inside the UFC. Considering his history with ‘The Last Stylebender’, it’s pretty obvious that ‘Poatan’ after winning this fight will like to settle his rivalry with Adesanya once and for all.


During the training camp for this fight, Pereira tried to add a new skill into his MMA arsenal as he shifted his camp to the Muay Thai capital of the world, Thailand. Even though Pereira has elite kickboxing background, training in Muay Thai will certainly improve his movement in front of Adesanaya that looked like the better ‘MMA’ fighter in their first meeting at UFC 276.

Aryan Verma

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Aryan Verma is a Combat Sports writer covering UFC and Boxing for SportsZion. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's in technology degree in Computer Science. Being a martial art practitioner himself, Aryan cherishes the opportunity to share his thoughts on latest combat sport events through his blogs.


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