By stopping ex-champ Jiri Prochazka this previous Saturday, Pereira picked up his second UFC belt in simply his seventh octagon look, an unheard-of championship tempo.
“It means so much to me to beat this after so a few years of coaching and dedication, and it’s additionally crucial for me to have the ability to present to all people the place I got here from, my humble beginnings,” Pereira stated through translator on the post-event press convention. “So to get right here and obtain this can be a massive achievement for me.”
Pereira joins a brief listing of fighters to say belts in two separate divisions, however he’s in a category of his personal in the case of pace.
Given his trajectory, there was a query of whether or not he may attempt for a 3rd belt at heavyweight. On that, Pereira acknowledged the fighter’s realest limitation: age.
“Since I’ve been preventing at middleweight, individuals have been asking me if I’ll battle at heavyweight, and I maintain saying the identical factor: I’ve to hearken to my physique,” he stated. “I’m 36 years previous now, and I don’t know the way far I can nonetheless battle. So now, my focus is simply this.”
Pereira instantly referred to as for an MMA trilogy along with his longtime rival, champion Israel Adesanya. The ex-middleweight champ, on a self-imposed hiatus, poked enjoyable at Pereira’s callout, and UFC CEO Dana White wasn’t wanting to inexperienced gentle the thought with recovering ex-champ Jamahal Hill assured a shot on the winner of the vacant title bout.
Hill defeated Pereira’s longtime buddy and mentor, Glover Teixeira, to seize the vacant belt earlier this 12 months. However Pereira’s concern was extra on Hill’s schedule than the rest.
“I don’t know if he’ll have the ability to be prepared on time or not,” the champ stated of Hill. “In relation to revenge … nothing private.”
Not everybody was pleased with the best way Pereira acquired the second title, discovering fault within the UFC 295 fundamental occasion’s stoppage by Marc Goddard. The veteran ref stepped in after Pereira clipped Prochazka with a pair of hooks after which landed a blitz of elbows to the pinnacle, prompting Prochazka to fall again.
Prochazka later defended Goddard on a number of events, whereas Pereira believed it was a simply name.
“I felt he was feeling these punches, and when he received in, [I hit him with] the left hook and a cross, as soon as he dropped on my legs, which was not like getting a takedown, however he truly fell, I began punching, and I may really feel he was fading away,” Pereira stated. “I believe it was a great stoppage. I do know his associates and supporters, his individuals, are perhaps going to attempt to say it was not, however I believe it was the proper means.”
Pereira hopes to persuade Adesanya to maneuver as much as his new weight division for a showdown. If he can’t, he’ll battle whomever the UFC places in entrance of him. So far as he’s come, he’s nonetheless going battle by battle to measure his personal progress.
However with a brand new UFC belt in entrance of him, he’s starting to soak within the dizzying quantity of success he’s had as of late.
“At first, I didn’t even know if I may assist myself as a fighter, if I may make a dwelling out of that,” Pereira stated. “Because of lots of good individuals round me, they stored me motivated, and I’m right here as a champion in two completely different weight courses.”