Las Vegas, NV — After a thrilling back-and-forth battle with Santiago Ponzinibbio on Saturday, which resulted in a split decision, Michel Pereira has now won five straight.
He’s also likely to break into the top 15 of the welterweight division later this week when the rankings are updated.
“Demolidor” has been a fan favorite since he arrived in the UFC. That fact, and a number next to his name, could land him some big fights. And he has two particular names in mind: Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.
“I really wanna fight Nate Diaz, because I think it’d be really fun to slap each other around,” Pereira (28-11, 2NC) told Cageside Press following his win at UFC Vegas 55 on Saturday. “I think it’d be a really fun fight, I think we’d put on a show for all the fans.”
“And also Jorge Masvidal, because I have a little bit of a problem with him, and I want to settle it.”
Later, he’d explain that the “problem” with Masvidal stemmed from “Gamebred” DM’ing his wife. And he’s not entirely sure why.
“So he sent an emoji to my wife, the emoji with the two hands together like this, a little ‘amen,'” recalled Pereira. “He sent it to my wife, he didn’t send it to me. I never actually crossed paths with him, I never had the chance to ask him. So I figured, I really want to understand, but might as well understand inside the octagon. So we’ll just settle it over there.”
As for these two particular names, it’s not necessarily about the money, Pereira said later.
“The fight that I’m looking for is guys that I want to fight against. I understand that there’s a time and place to get the money. The money’s there, I know we’re going to make money off of this. But can you imagine us, myself and Nate Diaz fighting? All the stuff, a fight like this, with all our shenanigans and everything else? Money is a consequence of your work, and I’ve always thought about that. I just think that, I’m going to make money eventually in my life. This is a time fight people, to put on a show for the fans and the crowd that’s going to be at the stadium.”
As for Saturday’s fight with Ponzinibbio, it was exactly what Pereira had envisioned. “I came here to actually do exactly that. To give my all, to let it all out in the octagon. That’s exactly what Ponzinibbio and I did.”
And while there may have been a bit of doubt when the scorecards were read, it was only a little. “I knew I had done enough. I was worried a little bit when they actually read the scorecards. But I saw his face when the fight ended, and I felt his face told me that I had won the fight,” said Pereira. “I had some better strikes, I pressed forward more, and that’s why I feel I had done enough to win.”
The part of the fight many don’t see is the battle to make weight — and Pereira also revealed on Saturday that he had lost a whopping 42 pounds ahead of UFC Vegas 55.
“For this fight, I actually lost, in about a month and a half, 19 kilograms. So that’s about 42 pounds. And then just in this past week, 13 kilograms. So just this past week, 28 pounds. So I knew that I was going to be a little bit bigger than him.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 55 post-fight media appearance by Michel Pereira above. More coverage from the event can be found below.