One of the most significant rivalries in the world of combat sports appeared to reach its conclusion earlier this year when Israel Adesanya finally emerged victorious against Alex Pereira in the UFC Octagon.
Adesanya’s win over his Brazilian adversary at UFC 287 on April 8th marked the first time in four attempts that the ‘Last Stylebender’ managed to outperform ‘Potan.’ Despite having won substantial portions of their previous three encounters. Pereira had twice defeated Israel by knockout. Including a victory that resulted in the Nigerian-born New Zealander losing his UFC title at UFC 281 in 2022.
Israel Adesanya’s take on next Alex Pereira bout
Such a one-sided record might have suggested that both men would continue their rivalry. However, with Adesanya firmly reclaiming his belt. He was swift to declare the end of their competitive feud.
This, coupled with Pereira’s move to the light heavyweight division, seemed to settle the matter once and for all. But it appears that may not be the case.
In a recent interview on the MMA Hour, Israel disclosed that the possibility of another fight with his Brazilian rival might be closer than fans anticipated.
With Alex currently scheduled to face former champion Jan Blachowicz. A victory there would likely place him among the top contenders for the light heavyweight title. And if Pereira secures the belt, Adesanya is interested in facing him again.
“If he wins the belt at 205 I’ll do it again,” Israel explained. “But if not – I think he’s done with it. I’m done with it. I think everyone else wants to see it. But we’ve moved on.
“If I were to bet money on it, no (I don’t think it happens). 205, I’ve been there. It’s hard. If he wins the 205 belt. Though, they might give him a fast track like they did with me, and then they’re going to have a magic, crazy, f-cking epic fight at 205 with me and him. That will be us for the fifth time.”
Israel further emphasized that even if he were to lose all ten hypothetical fights against Alex, it wouldn’t matter. What mattered to him was proving that he could win that bout after coming so close before and falling short.
However, despite Adesanya’s willingness to entertain the idea of another fight with Pereira, it is evident that another bout between the two fighters is not imminent. In the more immediate future, the 33-year-old still awaits his next challenger for the middleweight crown.
The most likely contender to face him is expected to emerge from an upcoming clash between former champion Robert Whittaker (who has faced Adesanya twice before) and rising contender Dricus Du Plessis.
Du Plessis has already cultivated a significant level of animosity that could potentially lead to a matchup with Israel Adesanya. Using the champion’s immigrant background to provoke him for not residing on the continent while simultaneously adopting the moniker of ‘African Champion.’
Dricus vs. Whittaker is scheduled to take place at UFC 290 during International Fight Week in Las Vegas on July 8th. The winner of that bout is projected to face Israel just two months later at UFC 293. Set for September 10th in Sydney, Australia.
Whether this fight can be arranged given the short turnaround time required for either Robert or Du Plessis, depending on the victor, remains to be seen.
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