Fresh UFC contender has eyes on Israel Adesanya, not champ Sean Strickland

IMAGO/AAP: Israel Adesanya announced a hiatus after his loss to Sean Strickland.

It feels a lot like there might just be a new UFC contender in the middleweight division. Former top ranked welterweight Michel Pereira absolutely mopped the floor with Andre Petroski back at UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs. Barboza. With that win in hand it seems like the Brazilian might be streaking his way toward a title shot.

However, in a recent interview, Demolidor revealed that his got other things on his mind besides fighting for UFC gold in the immediate future.

Michel Pereira wants Israel Adesanya, not Sean Strickland

Following Pereira’s win over Petroski, the 30-year-old sat down with MMA Fighting, where he talked about his plans for the future. Interestingly enough, they don’t appear to include calling out Sean Strickland at the moment, even thought he champion’s next contender is far from clear.

Instead, Pereira’s looking for a high profile action fight that would get fans talking.

“I don’t know much about this new [division], but one fight that I really like, I really enjoyed him, he’s a little bit of a showman, his name is [Israel] Adesanya. I think it would be such a fun fight, me and him. I have nothing against him. I’m an admirer, so I would like to fight him if I could.”

Pereira’s wish seems like more of a pipe dream right now than anything. Israel Adesanya’s latest bit of news was that the ‘Last Stylebender’ was looking to take a hiatus from fighting. If he weren’t stepping away, it seems more likely that he’d be getting a rematch for the belt than taking a big step back in competition.

Pereira is also not interested in Wonderboy anymore

In fact, being interested in Israel Adesanya instead of Sean Strickland is not the only surprise Michel Pereira had in store for that interview. Although the Brazilian was originally quite keen on facing welterweight UFC contender Stephen Thompson, it seems that the Overcome Academy athlete no longer finds the matchup all that enticing.

Originally, the pair was scheduled to meet at UFC 291, back in July, but after Pereira stepped on the scale three pounds overweight, Thompson decided to withdraw from the contest. The decision left the Brazilian with a bad impression of ‘Wonderboy’.

“I wanted to fight, of course,” Pereira said. “I was ready and prepared. I suffered a lot to lose weight for that fight, so obviously I was upset. I thought he was a little coward. In my entire career, I never saw anything like that. But at the same time, he was within his right [to decline].”

Michel Pereira wants one more fight in 2023

An active fighter, Michel Pereira does not want to wait too long before getting back in the Octagon. Having defeated his last foe in just over a minute, Pereira came out of the bout unscathed and sees no reason not to return soon. In fact, if he could make one more appearance before the year ends, that would be ideal.

“I already spoke to my manager because I want to be back and fight in December at the latest,” Pereira said.

Michel Pereira (29-11-2 NC) rides a six-fight win streak in the UFC, with wins over the aforementioned Petroski, Andre Fialho, Santiago Ponzinibbio, Niko Price, Khaos Williams and Zelim Imadaev. The 30-year-old’s most recent defeat dates back to July 2020, when he lost via disqualification after hitting veteran Diego Sanchez with an illegal knee to a downed opponent.

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About the author

Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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