Jared Cannonier: Alex Pereira’s win over Israel Adesanya ‘good for the rest of us’ at 185 pounds


Don’t count Jared Cannonier among those surprised by where — and on whom — the UFC middleweight title landed after a roller-coaster 2022 campaign.

“I would not say that I was surprised,” Cannonier stated on The MMA Hour . “That’s how fights go. That’s how some fights can go. While you may be winning, the next moment you realize you are trying to avoid getting hit with the most devastating shots. That’s how it goes. It’s unfortunate how it went down for Israel [Adesanya], but that’s the fight game, man.”

A nearly four-year reign at the top came to a stunning end for former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in November at UFC 281 when he lost to Alex Pereira courtesy of a come-from-behind knockout in the closing minutes of the bout. Adesanya had already lost twice before to Pereira dating back to the pair’s kickboxing days, and the shocking finish moved their multi-sport series to a definitive 3-0 lead in Pereira’s favor.

Just like when a long-standing champion loses, this result immediately threw UFC’s 185-pound Division into turmoil. Adesanya had already beaten a majority of middleweight’s top contenders, including a lopsided unanimous decision over Cannonier at UFC 276. So even though Cannonier wasn’t rooting for an upset, the 38-year-old certainly understands a bigger picture of what Adesanya’s loss means for his own title chances.

“I wouldn’t say it was a good thing for me. I wouldn’t say I was happy or anything like that. I didn’t have an emotional reaction to it. It was more of a logical thing,” Cannonier said. “And the way I think of it is, it brings more interest to the division, as opposed to bringing more interest to Israel himself.

” It is good for all of us. We all get more of a chance of fighting for the title, as opposed to trying to make our way back up to a rematch, which I feel is harder to do in this sport. However, Israel’s loss was not something I enjoyed. It wasn’t something I was going to do, like holding onto my fingers and hoping Israel loses. So no, I’ve never wished ill will on anybody.”

The next stage for UFC’s middleweight division will most likely be a fourth meeting between Pereira and Adesanya — in MMA. That fight doesn’t have an official date, but Adesanya is already the betting favorite to reclaim his belt on several sportsbooks.

Cannonier, for his part, wouldn’t be surprised by any result.

” I believe that anyone can win a fight,” Cannonier stated. Anyone who trains at this level and at the top level in sport can win. Look at Israel’s fight. He was well on his way. Even rocked him in the final round. He could have finished the round if he had 15 and 20 seconds more.

“So I’m not going to say that this person is going to win or that person’s going to win. Nobody has nobody’s number in this game, I would say. This is what I believe and what I tell myself. That’s why I think I can defeat anyone in this sport .”

Source: https://www.mmafighting.com/2022/12/27/23524532/jared-cannonier-alex-pereiras-win-over-israel-adesanya-good-for-the-rest-of-us-brings-more-interest?rand=96749