Johnny Eblen isn’t pulling any punches: He thinks he would smash Alex Pereira.
Eblen impressed again, taking down Anatoly Tokov at Bellator 290 this weekend to keep his title as middleweight. After the victory, discussion quickly turned towards where Eblen ranks among top middleweights around the globe. “The Human Cheat Code,” however, has the answer. Firmly at top.
Speaking with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Eblen made no bones about just how good he is, saying he would absolutely defeat current UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira.
“I think I beat him. Eblen stated that he beat him ten times in 10,. “I’m too much for the guy. He is a style matchup disaster. He’s a style matchup [that’s] great for me. I have great cardio, I can hit hard, I can take a punch, and I mix up the striking and wrestling really well. He won’t beat me, I can assure you. There’s no way. Especially with all the time he spends in MMA, it’s impossible to make up for my wrestling ability. There’s no way. He’s too old. It would have been necessary for him to begin wrestling 10 many years ago. He would have had to start wrestling 10 years ago.
“I think I can beat anybody on the planet. I’m one of the best, if not the best middleweight on the planet. I can’t say for sure, factually, because I haven’t fought everybody, but I think I match up damn well with every single middleweight in the world and I think I can win every single fight.”
Eblen is a strong contender. A former D-1 wrestler for the University of Missouri, Eblen is 13-0 in his professional MMA career and trains out of one of the most well-regarded gyms in the world, American Top Team. Eblen has been able to bring his best to the cage after working with the top fighters and coaches around the globe.
“During this camp, it started creeping in,” Eblen said. “Like, ‘Dude, I’m getting better, I’m getting good.’ I’m a problem. My problem is huge and there are still many things I need to do. This camp will be even more difficult for me. I’m just getting better exponentially and it’s getting scary. It’s all happening and it is frightening.
” “It’s nothing like I have been telling people this,” Eblen said. “I doubt myself. But the people around me watch me work, watch me do my thing, watch me train, and they’re like, ‘Dude, you’re the best.’ I think that’s a vote of — I have self confidence, of course, but I’m going to doubt myself because I’m very critical of myself. But the fact that the people I’m spending the most time around are telling me this, it really means something. This is helping me to believe in myself.
“I do believe in myself, just genuinely, but it’s just a little bit more, ‘OK, well I’m not delusional at least. Others are saying it to me. I know there will be backlash and some people may think that I am delusional. But I really don’t care. People who know me best and are closest to me most often tell me what they think. Then I was like “F*** Yeah, Let’s Go.” Let’s make this happen
Currently the No. 6 ranked middleweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, the issue for Eblen moving forward will be, what comes next? Eblen is ranked middleweight in Bellator, but there’s no deep division. He has defeated three of five top fighters in the Bellator rankings . However, there is one matchup on the horizon that Eblen believes would make sense for his next title defense: The winner of the upcoming Gegard Mousasi vs. Fabian Edwards fight that will take place at Bellator Paris in May. That would give Eblen the chance to either pull off a clean sweep of Bellator’s top middleweights, or to run it back with a legend of the game, and improve upon his dominant showing in their first contest.
“I think the winner of Mousasi and Edwards, that’s the one that makes sense,” Eblen said. “I think they’re fighting in Paris in May. This seems to be a No. 1 contender fight for me.
” I just want to fight and get paid. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is. I am ready to fight anyone. As I stated, I am ready to fight anyone in the world. It would be cool because it would be a different challenge with Edwards, but it would be even better to run it back with Mousasi, because I’m getting even better so I can put on a better performance and even finish him.”