Adesanya turns down trilogy with Pereira, explains celebration after knockout win
• ‘Now, it’s settled’
The newly minted undisputed middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, has shut down the idea of sharing the Octagon with arch-rival, Alex Pereira, for a third straight time following Saturday night’s devastating knockout win at UFC 287, claiming their spat is now ‘settled,’ reports lowkickmma.com.
Reclaiming the undisputed middleweight title, Adesanya, who managed to turn the tide and secure his first triumph over Pereira over their four fight series across professional combat sports, claimed his rivalry was ‘settled’ with the latter.
“I don’t keep score, I settle it, and now it’s settled,” Adesanya said of his rivalry with Pereira during his post-fight press conference at UFC 287. “I gave him (Alex Pereira) a fast track to the belt. I could’ve said, ‘Naw, who’s he fought?’ He only fought one top five (contender).’ But no. He did well. He fought some top guys. He beat (Sean) Strickland, and I was like, ‘Well, fine. There’s no one else.’”
As for an immediate trilogy bout under the UFC banner, Adesanya scoffed at the idea – urging Pereira to make a pursuit a division higher at 205lbs.
“I was looking for that challenge,” Adesanya explained. “He beat me in kickboxing and I got the immediate rematch because of what I’ve done in the game. … I did the hard years and I earned my rematch. Now he has to do the hard yards and earn it, but I don’t think he’s going to. Go cause problems at 205 (pounds) – I’ll tell you that.”
Receiving a slew of callouts following his triumphant title return, Adesanya was subject to open challenges from former champions, Jan Blachowicz, and Robert Whittaker – while undefeated welterweight berserker, Khamzat Chimaev appears confident he fights the Nigerian-Kiwi next.
As for Pereira, the now-former undisputed middleweight champion has been tipped to potentially make a move to the light heavyweight division following his stunning second round knockout defeat by UFC president, Dana White.
On his celebration style after the fight, Adesanya said It was their second kickboxing bout that inspired it. After leaving Pereira laid out, Adesanya first imitated the Brazilian star’s famed archery skills and then strolled over to one side of the cage where he performed an exaggerated flop to the mat.
At the evening’s post-fight press conference, Adesanya explained that he was simply returning the favour to Pereira’s son, who mocked him in similar fashion after Pereira knocked him out in March 2017.
“I’m petty,” Adesanya said. “I remember. The first time he knocked me out in Brazil, his son came into the ring and then just started to lie dead next to me. I’m like, ‘I’ll whoop your ass if your dad don’t do it for you.’ I looked for his kid, I pointed at him, and I saw him and I was like, ‘Hey, hey, hey,’ just to remind him.
“I saw (Pereira) backstage. We’re cool. He’s a great champion, he’s a warrior. His story, I mean that, I’m the antagonist of his story. He’s a beast, coming from where he’s come from. The adversities he’s been through in his life to get to where he’s gotten now, and taking me out the way he has, it’s a beautiful story for him. But like I said, tonight it’s not about his story, it’s about my story, which is history.”
Adesanya has a history of theatrics both pre- and post-fight. He is famous for his dramatic entrances, which include a choreographed group dance at UFC 243 and an homage to WWE legend The Undertaker at UFC 276. At UFC 253, he celebrated a knockout of Paulo Costa by pretending to hump him after the win.
A fan of anime, Adesanya was jokingly reminded that Pereira’s son may one day grow up and seek to avenge his father in the vein of a classic martial arts storyline, which Adesanya responded to in jest. “If you can crawl, we can brawl,” Adesanya said with a chuckle.