Alex Pereira became the new UFC middleweight champion after defeating his old kickboxing rival Israel Adesanya at UFC 281. Poatan was losing on the judges scorecards but managed to pull off an incredible comeback in the final round. He delivered a combination of punches and the referee stopped the action, marking his victory over the long reigning champion.
His claim to the title shot came after his impressive knock out over Sean Strickland.
Strickland was mouthy heading into the contest – but many of the fans predicted he would hesitate to wrestle and would get finished as a result of low FIghtIQ.
But Alex Pereira wasn’t so sure. He recently made a startling revelation when he admitted that he felt fear heading into the clash.
This is especially surprising considering Pereira has a long and storied history in kickboxing despite being relatively new to MMA compared to his peers. In a lengthy interview in Portuguese, Pereira revealed:
“It goes well in the organization, fourth in the ranking, the guy is dangerous, right? Experienced.”
“What’s the strategy going to be? Then, man, I don’t know. Then when you start doing the strategy, then you say, man, I’m going to get there. Then you start controlling that fear there, right?”
“And so, I had some fears, right? But when this guy started talking, you know, I had more ease to control. Because he’s a guy like that, kind of a good guy, an experienced guy, but sometimes he said some things that didn’t make much sense, you know? And then I said, man, I’m going to get this guy,”
“I’m going to get these failures here, you know? And that’s what happened. Of everything he said and where I felt the most fear, I’m going to tell you. Before the fight, until the weigh-in, I was afraid,”
” When I entered, when he entered the octagon, he entered already facing and at no time did he face me that way. At the time I transformed myself, the fear. I said, man, this guy wants to kill me here.”
“But when he came in, that woke me up. I said, I have to be attentive all the time. And that’s what I did, right?”