Former middleweight champion Alex Pereira has suggested that his rival Israel Adesanya shouldn’t get an immediate rematch with Sean Strickland after his shock title loss at UFC 293 on Saturday night.
“Personally, I don’t agree,” Pereira said on his YouTube channel regarding an immediate rematch for Adesanya. “When it was me, I agreed because I was losing the fight and managed to knock him out in the final round, so it was a totally different situation. That’s why he deserved it. But now, Sean exceeded all expectations. Many people who didn’t believe now believe. And hey, if you don’t believe, that’s on you. But I think he needs to keep going, bring in other athletes to challenge him.
“Adesanya needs to take a break because he’s a guy – man, let’s not discredit him just because he lost. He’s a guy that I think fought four matches in a year. I think he needs to rest a bit his body, his mind to come back refreshed, ready for another fight and then come after that belt again and try something against Sean Strickland. But with the style Sean showed, I think it’s tough for Adesanya to get that belt back.”
Pereira knocked out Strickland back in July of last year to pave the way for his own title shot at 185lbs.
However, he’s since moved up to 205lbs after back-to-back fights with Adesanya, and ‘Poatan’ actually helped train Strickland ahead of his title challenge, and was impressed with how he performed on Saturday night.
“Clearly, Sean came in and shut his game down,” Pereira said. “He was really smart. He was moving forward all the time with an amazing defense and let’s not forget the precise strikes. He walked less, circled, and landed the best attacks. And, well, you all saw the result. I want to congratulate Sean Strickland.
“He did an amazing job, and I’m really happy for this change in the division’s champion. I think Sean’s time has come, and it’s not likely that another – not likely, but it’s tricky. The way Sean behaved in this last fight, for someone else to quickly take away his belt. So, let’s brace ourselves for many more epic fights. Despite some people’s skepticism, ‘Oh, he fought with Alex, and it wasn’t like that.’”
Pereira is not the only person who thinks Adesanya shouldn’t head straight into an immediate rematch as Daniel Cormier also said as much on the UFC 293 post-fight broadcast.
However, Dana White appeared convinced that a rematch was the way to go when he spoke to reporters after the show, and while Adesanya didn’t give his thoughts on the matter, his coach Eugene Bareman has said he’d told the UFC president they’d fight Strickland again next weekend if they could.