UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira has responded to those questioning his wrestling ability.
Pereira, a former two-division Glory Kickboxing champion, has experienced an incredibly successful transition to MMA. Like fellow ex-kickboxer Israel Adesanya, Pereira was able to capture UFC gold in a short time.
“Poatan” defeated Adesanya twice in kickboxing and went on to dethrone him in MMA when he knocked him out at UFC 281 to capture the middleweight title this past November. In the fight, Pereira was taken down and controlled by Adesanya, who doesn’t normally resort to grappling to win fights.
But Pereira (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) would like to remind everyone that he too was able to land a takedown on Adesanya (23-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC).
“The people who talk about that are the people that never grappled (me), that trained with (me),” Pereira told ESPN though an interpreter. “All the guys that come in and roll with (me), grapple, do some MMA, they leave very surprised and say, ‘Man, I didn’t know he could grapple like that.’ But (I’m) not trying to prove nothing to nobody. (I’m) just doing (my) thing, but stay tuned for the future.”
He continued, “People say that (I) cannot grapple, but almost nobody could be able to put Israel down with a takedown. (I) took him down, so what’s going on?”
Daniel Cormier questions timing around Israel Adesanya's decision to rematch Alex Pereira
UFC 287 odds: Israel Adesanya the betting favorite over Alex Pereira in title rematch
Pereira and Adesanya are set for a title-fight rematch in the UFC 287 main event on April 8 at Miami-Dade Arena.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 287.