Alex Pereira talks Israel Adesanya airport run-in, guaranteed title shot with Jan Blachowicz win

Alex Pereira talks Israel Adesanya airport run-in, guaranteed title shot with Jan Blachowicz win

The fiery rivalry between Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya may never die, even despite their cordial interactions outside the octagon this week.

Pereira and Adesanya shared respectful words following their latest UFC encounter, which saw “The Last Stylebender” finally secure a win over the Brazilian after losing three consecutive fights in kickboxing and MMA. More recently, they crossed paths at the airport in the United States, with both fighters sharing hilarious videos on social media about their impromptu run-in. Pereira stopped by a bonus episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca on Thursday to discuss the friendly exchange.

“We were both in Australia and at the same hotel, some people from my crew saw him there but we never actually met there,” Pereira said. “When we were leaving, at the Los Angeles [to] New York connection, we met in the line and said hi, had some laughs. I got there first, he came in after, and we greeted.”

Pereira, who doesn’t speak English, said he asked his coach Plinio Cruz to ask Adesanya if he’d be down to shoot some videos for social media.

But even though Adesanya and Pereira shared some laughs together, the Brazilian fighter said that doesn’t mean they can’t switch back to war mode.

“The rivalry will always exist,” Pereira said. “I’m fighting [Jan Blachowicz] now, I have to have rivalry with the guy I’m fighting, you know? He’s in there and he wants to kill me, and I want to do the same to him. How am I going to treat him [nicely]? I have to be mean there.

“It’s the same thing with Adesanya. For example, if I were to fight him again, we would have a rivalry. But now, why? We’ll meet; Adesanya, he’s there with a teammate, I’m in the same spot, and we can’t [cross paths] because we’ll destroy the whole place and beat each other up? That doesn’t exist. That type of rivalry doesn’t exist with me.”

Asked if he sees another UFC clash happening between the two down the line, Pereira said he didn’t know. Ultimately, he explained, it depends on his success at light heavyweight.

“I can make 185 right now,” he said. “If I had to make [185] on July 29. I could, but I have to give my body a rest from this weight cut. So I’ll fight two or three times in this division. I don’t know what can happen [next], but I think I’ll be recovered to fight again at 185.”

Pereira said his manager confirmed with the UFC brass that a win over Blachowicz at UFC 291 on July 29 earns the Brazilian a shot at the 205-pound championship.

Jamahal Hill, who beat Pereira’s teammate and friend Glover Teixeira earlier this year to claim the vacant UFC light heavyweight title, could defend his belt first against Jiri Prochazka, with “Poatan” waiting on the sidelines. It all depends on timing.

“It’s a fight that will sell a lot,” Pereira said of potentially facing Hill. “I think he’s going to fight one more time and I’ll root for him to win, because it’s a fight that will sell a lot, and that’s a fight I want, if I were to choose. Between Prochazka and Jamahal, I’d choose Jamahal.”

“I think Blachowicz is more technical,” Pereira added. “Jamahal is more crazy, hits a bit too open — which is dangerous, but at that same time that’s very good for me.”

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