Former middleweight UFC champion Alex Pereira has announced his decision to move up in weight, at least for the time being.
In a YouTube video released on Wednesday evening, Pereira wasted no time in sharing his plans for the immediate future. Standing at an impressive 6-foot-4, it has appeared miraculous to outsiders each time he has managed to make the 185-pound mark in his nine-fight MMA career.
“My next fight will be at 205,” Pereira said on his YouTube channel. “Yeah, you heard right. My next fight will be at 205. I think I did my work at 185, and now I’m feeling good to go up to 205. Like I told you, when I’m feeling good, I will go up. This will be something natural, and now I think it is.
Pereira was undefeated under the UFC banner but lost a rematch to Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title this past Saturday at UFC 287 in Miami. “Poatan” said “I’ve done my part” at 185 pounds, and now feels “great” to move up, a change he called “something natural.” Despite weighing in as heavy as 232 pounds months out from past fight camps, Pereira doesn’t want the perception to be that he’s unable to still compete in the division he won a world title in.
“Many people questioned [my weight cut] but I always went there and fulfilled my obligation, but now is a great moment to move up a division,” Pereira said in his native Portuguese. “You see Adesanya’s post-fight provocations, he treats this win like it’s 3-1 for him and it’s not quite like that. I understand his joy — or try to understand it — it was his dream to win once against me and he’s done it, but let’s see what his behavior is now.”
Pereira confirmed that he has not yet determined either a date or an opponent for his return to the light heavyweight division.
“My next opponent, I can’t tell you, but I will keep you updated here on my channel. But as well, I want to make one thing clear: The division 185, I always made weight. A lot of people had doubts, but I always fulfilled my obligation. But now it’s the moment to go up to the next division. This will be better for me.”
Having excelled in kickboxing at both 185 and 205 pounds, the 35-year-old fighter made a full commitment to MMA in 2020 and was signed to the UFC after amassing a 3-1 record. Although he initially focused on middleweight due to his confidence in his abilities, Pereira's coach and mentor Glover Teixeira capturing the light heavyweight title, along with his history with Adesanya, provided him with reasons to stick with the 185-pound category.
If Pereira had successfully defended his title against Adesanya at UFC 287 last weekend, he would likely have moved up in weight in due course. Regrettably for Pereira, Adesanya defeated him via a second-round knockout, securing his first triumph in their four-fight rivalry.