Israel Adesanya: Alex Pereira has ‘bragging rights,’ but ‘I know something he doesn’t’ ahead of UFC 281 clash


Israel Adesanya is holding his cards close to the chest for his third fight with Alex Pereira.

The challenger currently holds a 2-0 series advantage over Adesanya having beaten the UFC middleweight champion twice in kickboxing. Their first bout was a closely contested affair that Pereira won by split decision and their second bout ended with an incredible knockout win for Pereira that has been replayed countless times ahead of their UFC 281 main event clash in New York.

While Adesanya has his business mind set before he defends his title, he is aware of the narrative stakes.

“It is [business], but it’s personal,” Adesanya said on The MMA Hour. This is all about me and my legacy. It’s about changing the history. Even though it is history and I never chased this, this is about me rewriting a new path of history and just showing people what I can really do because, again, y’all must’ve forgot. They forget, they always forget. It’s because of this Tik Tok era, the attention span is so quick, they move on so fast.

“This is personal. He can play all the tennis balls videos or f hoverboard stuff he likes, but I think it’s more fun to say less. “I can’t tell you.” I can’t tell you.”

Pereira earns his UFC title shot in just his eighth pro MMA bout and his fourth for the promotion, but has a wealth of kickboxing experience including championship wins in two divisions for Glory Kickboxing. He is 3-0 in the UFC and was chosen to be Adesanya’s next challenger after first-round knockout of Sean Strickland this past July.

The Brazilian striker has been on the fast track to a fight with Adesanya since making his UFC debut in November 2021 and Adesanya thinks he deserves some credit for removing all the other contenders from Pereira’s title path.

“Without me, he wouldn’t be here,” Adesanya said. “Without me, he would have been exposed a long time ago. I cleared the path without him. I cleared the division first of all so there’s not really anyone else to fight. He could not reach the top .”

because I blocked the way.

Pereira said on MMA Fighting’s Trocacao Franca podcast that he believes a win over Adesanya gives him a clear advantage in the legacy department, given their head-to-head results and his kickboxing titles. Adesanya has yet to lose in the UFC when competing at 185 pounds and has successfully defended the undisputed title five consecutive times.

“The last Stylebender” laughed at Pereira’s claim.

“The ‘Glory hole,'” Adesanya said, laughing. “I could buy that promotion if I wanted to.

“I’m winning. Life is a victory for me. I’m doing much better than he is and he’s building everything off me, which, if he’s ‘punching down’ what a height he’s punching at because I’m up, way up. Way up .”

As for the incident in the second fight in which Adesanya seemed to lead the dance, before “Poatan’s left hand” cut his lights, Adesanya thinks that he quit what was working, and it cost him.

“I didn’t stay true to my style,” Adesanya said. “I was younger and I just let myself get influenced by outside noises and I didn’t stay true to my style. I know me. Even [my brother] David said it when I injured someone. And I think of them as my friends. What is the point of headhunting? I headhunted, but I only used my right hand. That’s probably the most stupid thing I could do. It cost me a lot of money and I wasn’t true to my style. This was more bothersome than an .”


Whatever secret strategy Adesanya is planning to make sure that his third fight with Pereira ends differently, he won’t reveal it.

“I’m excited for this one for different reasons,” Adesanya said. I know something that you don’t. [About me], f*** him.”