Start of a Rivalry
It all started back in 2016 at a Chinese kickboxing event named Glory Of Heroes 1, in which Alex defeated Israel by unanimous decision in a fight that felt far closer than the outcome would determine. Their second meeting would take place a year later, in 2017 at Glory Of Heroes 1. Pereira would go on to defeat Adesanya again, this time with a vicious third round knockout. One that left Adesanya on the canvas long past the finish, with an oxygen mask on his face.
Not long after their two fights, Israel Adesanya would make the transition into the sport of MMA. The Nigerian quickly rose through the ranks of the UFC, eventually becoming the undisputed middleweight champion of the world. However, on his way to the top of that mountain, Israel made some very interesting comments that seem to have gotten the attention of his old foe, Alex Pereira.
Here is what Adesanya said: “At the end of the day, no one knows who the f**k he is. And he’s going to be that guy when I’m a world champion, when I’m a legend. He’s going to be at some pub, talking some sh*t about ‘I beat that guy 1 time’.”
According to Alex Pereira, these comments from Adesanya motivated the Brazilian to go into the world of MMA as well and make a name for himself.
Cool story, right? Well, it gets better.
They Meet Again…
Alex Pereira would eventually get his chance to enter the UFC, like Adesanya, and make an even quicker rise to the top of the mountain. Upon reaching the summit, Pereira was once again faced with Israel Adesanya, this time with the UFC middleweight championship that “Poatan” was after.
In their third ever meeting, first in MMA, Pereira would finish Adesanya yet again after a fight that the champion seemed to have been winning. Alex went into Israel’s new sport and defeated him once again, even taking Adesanya’s beloved championship belt this time.
Of course, this would set up an immediate rematch, in which Israel Adesanya would strike back and get his long-due revenge. It was clearly an emotional win for Adesanya, not only recapturing his belt. But most importantly, knocking out the man who has been his Kryptonite to that point. In the aftermath of this fight, UFC President Dana White would announce Alex Pereira’s move away from Adesanya and the middleweight division.
Alex Peira Leaves The Division
“Poatan” was simply too big for the 185-pound weight class, and he now finds himself at light heavyweight with new challengers. In an impressive series of events, Pereira would go on to capture the UFC light heavyweight championship in his new weight class. Upon stepping into the infamous post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Pereira would surprisingly call for yet another fight with Israel Adesanya.
In the call-out, he revealed that Adesanya motivated him with those initial comments he made, thus leading to Pereira’s journey as a two-division UFC champion. The fact that Alex felt the need to mention Israel in his very best moment says a lot in regards to what he thinks about him.
Will They Fight Again?
It seems like these two will be feuding until the very end of time. Will they ever fight again in the UFC? That is a very tough question. At 1-1, you would think it makes sense, but Alex moving up a weight class and “The Last Stylebender” taking a long hiatus really complicates things.
According to Adesanya, he will not return to action until 2027. This factor is the most complicated one to overcome because if Adesanya were active, it would not actually be that hard to make. Pereira is now the champion and gets more leeway to call his own shots, and Adesanya has competed at light heavyweight before. So in theory, this fight is not impossible to come to fruition.
Just running through the history between these two combat sports legends is truly breathtaking. I have heard this many times, but in this case, you REALLY could not have scripted their story any better. There seem to be mixed emotions regarding Alex’s post-fight call-out of Adesanya. Some would like to see the exciting rivalry continue, while others would dread a fifth fight between the two.
In my mind, the stories are equally as captivating as the actual matchups themselves when looking at a fight. Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya’s fights are not only great on paper, they always tell a good story. Anytime these two guys agree to fight, I will watch it 100 out of 100 times.