Alex Pereira explains how an Israel Adesanya interview motivated him to go into MMA and join the UFC: “I felt challenged”

By Cole Shelton - April 3, 2023

Alex Pereira didn’t plan on going into MMA until he saw an interview with Israel Adesanya.

Israel Adesanya Alex Pereira

The interview took place in 2020 with Sporting News Australia and Adesanya was dismissive of Pereira. He took aim at the Brazilian for always re-posting his KO win after Adesanya did something in the UFC.

“He watches all my fights, and every time I fight, like clockwork, he’d try to put something out like, ‘I beat this guy,’” Adesanya said. “At the end of the day, no one knows who the f*ck he is, and he’s going to be that guy when I’m world champion, when I’m a legend, he’s going to be at some pub talking sh*t about, ‘I beat that guy one time.’”

After watching the interview, Alex Pereira knew he had to go into MMA and face Israel Adesanya again in the UFC. Pereira says there weren’t many challenges left for him and after hearing ‘The Last Stylebender’ dismiss him so much it motivated him to face him again in MMA.

“When Israel Adesanya joined the UFC, I started taking a close look because I had (an) interest in fighting in MMA,” Pereira said during the UFC 287 Countdown. (h/t MMAJunkie). “There is a video of an interview with Israel Adesanya that motivated me so much. I felt challenged. And whenever there’s a challenge, no one can hold me back. I wanted new challenges, and the UFC was it.”

Of course, Pereira went 3-0 in the UFC to earn a title shot against Adesanya last November at UFC 281. In the fight, Adesanya was cruising heading into the fifth round, when Pereira landed a big shot against the cage that hurt the champ. After some more shots, the ref stepped in and Pereira became the UFC’s middleweight champion.

Now, the two are set to rematch at UFC 287 in Miami on Saturday. But, perhaps if Adesanya never did that interview, then Pereira would have never signed with the UFC.

Who do you think wins at UFC 287, Alex Pereira or Israel Adesanya?

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Alex Pereira Israel Adesanya UFC