While many believe that Alex Pereira scored a fluke victory over longtime champion Israel Adesanya, Pereira may have more expertise than was previously believed. Pereira had been jolted from his kickboxing reign when Adesanya made some comments in a random interview in Australia that ended up reaching Pereira.
And while Adesanya was busy competing 3 times a year and lapping the division – Pereira’s focus was solely on Adesanya.
“I’m going to tell you something here and you see if it makes sense. Okay. ”
“This is not recent. It’s been about a year since. ”
“I’ve signed with the UFC. ”
“A couple of years before I got here. ”
“I was already looking forward. To be a part of this organization. ”
“So, it’s been about 3 years that I …”
“I don’t want to say I was studying him. Specifically, but I’ve been watching. ”
“For three years, I’ve been watching him his behavior. ”
“The way he fights his movement. ”
“And for him fighting me, now is something new. But it’s not news to me. I’ve been waiting for 3 years. ”
“I knew I was going to fight him again. He didn’t know I was going to fight him, but I knew.”
Pereira said in an interview which he then reposted on his social media ahead of UFC 281.
Israel Adesanya took the measured approach in his clash with kickboxing foe Alex Pereira at UFC 281.
By all accounts he was 3-1 heading into the fifth round.
In an ironic twist, it was a calf kick that did Adesanya in. Through out the match, Adesanya was throwing calf kicks however in the fifth Alex checked one for the first time and actually did something to Adesanya’s leg.
With a win over Adesanya, Alex Pereira became the second-least experienced UFC champion of the modern era, only behind Brock Lesnar.
Prior to the year he spent in UFC, Pereira was a two division champion in Glory kickboxing and had struggled with a drinking problem.
But many MMA fans might not realize an Adesanya interview was to blame for Pereira changing his career trajectory.
“Alex Burr told me that in March 2020, Israel Adesanya did a an interview with Sporting News Australia, probably one of dozens of interviews that he did before his fight against Yoel Romero. But there was something that he said in that interview that really resonated with Pereira. And Adesanya said he was asked about Pereira and of course being knocked out by him”
“And he said, He said that in the future no one is going to know who this guy is. He’s going to be some guy at a pub talking to some girls, and he’s to look up at the TV and say, Oh, I fought that guy one time. Yes, he’s going to be a legend. He’s just going to be some guy at a bar and 7000 miles away.”
“Alex Pereira watched that interview. I don’t even know how he found it. It was on YouTube. Sport News Australia. Random interview. He saw that clip and he it motivated and they invited him. Seven months later he was signing with LFA. He wasn’t even in the moment really full time at that point. But that that one little 90 second clip motivated this man.”