New York, NY — Under normal circumstances, a 3-1 fighter signed by the UFC wouldn’t garner much attention, if they were signed at all. When it comes to Alex Pereira, however, it’s not normal circumstances.
Pereira may only be 3-1 as a mixed martial artist, but he has an extensive kickboxing background, competing as recently as September. And he happens to be the man who beat Israel Adesanya twice — once by knockout.
That makes Pereira’s arrival in the UFC a big deal. Out of the gate, he’s been placed in the featured fight spot on the UFC 268 preliminary card. There, he’ll throw down with Andreas Michailidis.
Asked about his expectations for the fight, Pereira said during Wednesday’s UFC 268 media day that “[Michailidis]’s a tough opponent. For sure, he’s going to trade some strikes. I don’t think it’s going to go the whole fight. For sure, he’ll be trying to take me down, but it’s not something that really gets me concerned to be honest, because he’s not a great wrestler. He has good jiu-jitsu, but I watched some previous fights of his, some previous tapes, and he tried some takedowns but was not successful. You can’t work jiu-jitsu if you cannot [get] the fight to the ground.”
The name Adesanya is almost constantly brought these days, with Pereira making the jump to the UFC. It doesn’t bother him — he called it “part of his story” on Wednesday — but at the same time, Pereira’s former foe isn’t the ultimate goal in his MMA journey.
“I just didn’t come here to go after Adesanya, I came here to be a champion,” said Pereira. “Who knows, maybe by the time that I get there, he’s no longer the champ anymore. So I’m just focusing on one day at a time. I just got to the organization, I just aim to be a champion here. If I get there and it’s him, fine.”
In terms of any pressure he feels because of the Adesanya wins, “pressure comes from everywhere,” said Pereira, “but I know how to deal with that.”
“It’s hard for me to predict I’ll be fighting him. I don’t know how many fights it will take me to get to the belt,” he added. “Maybe they will jump me straight up there, maybe they’ll make me do five fights, we gotta see what we have.”
Watch the full UFC 268 media day appearance from Alex Pereira above. More coverage of the event can be found below. UFC 268 takes place Saturday November 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY.