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Alex Pereira wants to train with Israel Adesanya

LockerRoom Team
04 March 2024

Alex Pereira, the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion, has expressed openness to the idea of training with his former rival, Israel Adesanya, in the future. However, Pereira stipulated that such a collaboration would only be possible if it's certain that they won't face off in the Octagon again.

The rivalry between Pereira and Adesanya has been a long-standing one, spanning both kickboxing and MMA arenas. Pereira notably secured victories over Adesanya twice in kickboxing before transitioning to the UFC, where he captured the middleweight title from Adesanya. Adesanya later reclaimed the title in a rematch but subsequently lost it to Sean Strickland. Meanwhile, Pereira now holds the UFC's 205-pound title.

In a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Pereira reflected on the possibility of training with Adesanya, stating, "Anything can happen. Maybe he and the organization have the interest [to book that fight again]. I'm here." He emphasized that while he's open to the idea, he believes the rivalry between them may have reached its conclusion. Pereira acknowledged Adesanya's experience and noted the potential benefits of incorporating elements of each other's styles into their training.

However, Pereira underscored the condition under which he would entertain training with Adesanya, stating, "if we're sure it's impossible that we fight again." He compared the situation to his past experiences, mentioning that he had trained with Strickland after defeating him but wouldn't have done so if there was a possibility of a rematch.

Regarding a potential rematch with Adesanya, Pereira expressed some disappointment, saying, "I really wanted to [fight him again], but I honestly think it's over now." He explained that he had attempted to initiate the rematch, but Adesanya showed no interest, leading Pereira to move on. Reflecting on the risk involved in facing Adesanya again, Pereira emphasized the importance of both fighters being at their best for a meaningful competition.

Pereira concluded by acknowledging the transient nature of rivalries in combat sports, stating, "a rivalry must exist when you're both in fire together, but 'it has to stop' once you're no longer competing for the same goal." Despite the uncertainty surrounding a potential training partnership, Pereira remains focused on defending his title and pursuing new challenges in the UFC.

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Pereira's next challenge comes in the form of a title defense against former UFC champion Jamahal Hill, scheduled for April 13 in the main event of UFC 300. While the prospect of training with Adesanya remains uncertain, Pereira's openness to the idea adds an intriguing layer to the ongoing narrative of their rivalry-turned-possible collaboration.


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