Despite the fact he is currently earmarked to defend his light heavyweight crown against former titleholder, Jamahal Hill off the back of his vacant title win at UFC 295 earlier this month, Alex Pereira has claimed he would chose to fight Russian contender, Magomed Ankalaev next, viewing the bout as a “tougher” pairing for him.
Pereira, a former undisputed middleweight champion under the banner of the promotion, struck vacant light heavyweight gold at UFC 295 at the beginning of this month, the Brazilian stopped former champion, Jiri Prochazka with a second round TKO win at Madison Square Garden in New York.
And in the immediate aftermath of his victory in ‘The Big Apple’, Pereira was earmarked to fight Dana White’s Contender Series alum, Hill in his first attempted title defense by the promotion’s CEO.
Welcoming a title fight with Hill in his first attempted defense, GLORY Kickboxing Hall of Fame inductee, Pereira described the Illinois native as overconfident.
I think I proved myself in the light heavyweight division, with the fight against Jiri (Prochazka), winning the title, and obviously as well with the fight against Jan Blachowicz,” Alex Pereira said. “If I would compare these three fighters: Jamahal (Hill), Jan, and Jiri, and someone would tell me, like, ‘Hey, choose one you would like to fight.’ I would choose Jamahal because I think he’s a good opponent for me.”
“I think it’s just a little bit over or too much as well looking at my story, my history in kickboxing to say I will stand striking and I will knock him out whatever,” Alex Pereira explained. “Because, finally, all the people are always trying it, and I’m sure he wants to strike but when he sees it’s not working, he will go on the ground as well… I think Jamahal is a good fight for me, and I think he was a little bit over [confident] with his statement.”
Alex Pereira outlines plans for Magomed Ankalaev fight
However, the Brazilian has seemingly switched his focus on his first opponent as king at 205 pounds, calling out Ankalaev, who has a January main event rematch with Pereira’s compatriot, Johnny Walker awaiting him in the new year first and foremost.
“I have heard a lot of people say this, that he [Magaomed Ankalaev] would be a bad matchup for me, I like that,” Alex Pereira said on his YouTube channel. “If there were only two guys available for me today, Hill or Ankalaev, if I had a choose one of them. Thinking like that, Hill would be a better matchup, of course. I’m always thinking about winning. It wouldn’t be a sure thing but it would be better for me.”
“Ankalaev would be more difficult,” Alex Pereira explained. “I think it’s a really good challenge for me. It would be harder, I agree, but I’ve been training hard. I’ve been evolving with each session. I would have a strategy for Ankalaev, too, of course. If I could choose, I’d pick him over Hill.”
Who wins in a future fight for gold: Alex Pereira or Magomed Ankalaev?