UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira has revealed that he was actually “scared” to share the Octagon with one of his previous opponents.
Pereira (7-1 MMA) captured the promotions coveted middleweight title earlier this month at UFC 276, scoring a sensational fifth-round TKO victory over longtime rival Israel Adesanya.
The shocking result marked Pereira’s third win over ‘Stylebender’ in combat sports, as ‘Poatan’ had previously defeated Adesanya on two occasions in kickboxing.
While Alex Pereira is considered by many fans to be one of the scariest fighters to ever step foot inside the Octagon, the newly crowned middleweight champion has admitted that one of his previous opponents had him spooked.
During a recent interview with So Papos MMA, Pereira was very candid while discussing his UFC 276 fight with fellow middleweight Sean Strickland.
“Talking about my last fight, [Strickland] had 25 fights, was doing well in the UFC, ranked No. 4 in the middleweight rankings, he’s dangerous, he’s experienced,” Pereira said (h/t MMAMania). “I was scared, but when I heard him talk, I relaxed a little bit. He is a good fighter and an experienced one, but he was talking some stuff that didn’t make any sense. For a few months since the fight was booked I had fear, but it was under control. But I’ll tell you when I was the most afraid. Everything he said and up until the weigh-in, everything was fine. When he entered the octagon and started staring at me, he hadn’t looked at me that way before. That was when I became scared.”
Alex Pereira continued:
“He’s another person inside the Octagon, different from his normal personality. I thought ‘This guy wants to kill me’ I’m telling you; this was a different guy from everything else. But in the end, it was good that he entered the octagon this way, because it woke me up, I became aware of the danger, I knew I couldn’t make mistakes. I said damn, he’s different in here, you have to be careful with this man. I went in smarter and managed to catch him.”
Alex Pereira wound up defeating Sean Strickland by way of first-round knockout at UFC 276. The brash American decided to stand and trade with the former GLORY kickboxing champion, a decision that proved costly (see that below).
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