Israel Adesanya And Dana White Suggest Alex Pereira Trilogy Fight Unlikely

Israel Adesanya evened the score with Alex Pereira (in the Octagon at least) this past weekend when he KO’d his nemesis to reclaim the middleweight title, but while that seems to set up the possibility of a trilogy fight for the ages, both ‘The last Stylebender’ and Dana White have already indicated that’s not something they are eager to pursue.

Speaking to reporters backstage, Adesanya made it clear that he doesn’t intend to fight Pereira again next and instead suggested that he would have to work his way back up the pecking order to earn that opportunity.

“I don’t keep score I settle them,” Adesanya said at the post-fight press conference. “Now it’s settled. Look, I gave him a fast-track to the belt, I could have said ‘Nah, who has he fought?’ He fought one top five guy but nah, he did well, fought some alright guys and beat f***ing Strickland.

“I was like ‘fine there’s no one else’, I was looking for that challenge, the guy that beat me in kickboxing, that’s why I took that fight. The rematch? I got the immediate rematch because of what I’ve done in this game. I won the belt against Kelvin [Gastelum] and defended it against Rob [Whittaker, whom he defeated for the undisputed title after winning the interim title previously].

“Then it was [Yoel] Romero, [Paolo] Costa, [Marvin] Vettori, Rob again, [Jared Cannonier]; that’s seven! My other belt would have seven f***ing gems on it. I did the hard yards and I earned my f***ing rematch, now he’s got to do the hard yards if he wants to do that and I don’t think he’s going to.”

Of course it’s usually the UFC brass that have the final say on who fights who, but on this occasion it seems that Dana White is just as happy as Adesanya to close the book on this rivalry, though he claimed that was more down to Pereira than himself.

“Honestly, I think that Pereira probably moves to 205 after this fight,” White said at the post-fight presser when asked if the trilogy fight was next. “He’s a monster. I know that he still had two pounds to cut leading up to when there was like an hour left in weigh-ins. Yeah. I’m not saying he’s moving to 205, but I’d assume he is. You guys can ask him, himself. But it wouldn’t surprise me. … I would bet anything he moves to 205 after this fight.”

And it’s telling that when a Brazilian reporter followed up on this to ask if White would be willing to make the trilogy fight if Pereira decided that’s what he wanted, White didn’t answer the question directly, and instead reverted back to his previous comments, telling him that, “I’d bet anything he moves up to 205lbs after this fight.”

Undeterred, the reporter continued to press for an answer, at which point White reverted back to his standard post-fight response of, “I don’t know, we’ll see what happens.”

And of course meanwhile Adesanya also appeared eager for Pereira to go and test himself at light-heavyweight.

“He should go cause problems at 205,” Adesanya said. “Good luck to everybody else because he’s a motherf***er to deal with… With Poatan [Pereira’s nickname], he’s always going to be a champion. A lot of people would try and like write me off and go ‘oh you’re not a champ any more’, but they still call me champ.

“I’m still the champion, I still carry myself as a champion. Kamaru Usman, Francis Ngannou, they’re still champions, they’re always going to be champions no matter what. Once a champion, always a champion.”

And while it might seem that Pereira is being cheated out of a trilogy fight, it’s worth noting that in a post-fight statement he issued on Sunday he didn’t actually give any indication that he actually wants it.

“Im just here to let u know that I’m fine!” Pereira wrote on Instagram. “I want to thank my family, my team and all the people who are supporting me during my journey.

Now I just have to rest and continue with the plans that are already on motion. Thanks god 🙏”

Pereira would certainly make a very intriguing addition to the UFC’s light-heavyweight division, where Jamahal Hill resides as champion, so after that brutal KO loss against Adesanya perhaps he’ll see this as a move that’ll work out better for him in the long run.

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.