UFC champion Alex Pereira open to training with former foe Israel Adesanya: ‘I don’t feel like we’ll fight again’

Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya

Despite their long and storied rivalry, Alex Pereira would be happy to train with Israel Adesanya.

The feud between ‘Poatan’ and ‘The Last Stylebender’ stretches far beyond their time inside the Octagon. First meeting under the GLORY Kickboxing banner, Pereira scored back-to-back wins over the two-time middleweight champion, including a brutal third-round KO at Glory of Heroes 15 in March 2017.

Adesanya promptly moved on to MMA, earning a couple of first-round finishes on the Australian regional scene before making his UFC debut in 2018. Pereria would follow in his former foes’ footsteps, making his first Octagon appearance three years later.

Under the UFC banner, Pereira and Adesanya engaged in a memorable rivalry, splitting highlight-reel knockouts in their two meetings, though it was the ‘Stylebender’ who had the last laugh.

READ MORE:  Rejected! Jiri Prochazka declines Jamahal Hill's post-UFC 300 callout: 'I'd like to fight for the title'

With Pereira sitting atop the light heavyweight throne and Adesanya eyeing a long-awaited clash with reigning middleweight king Dricus Du Plessis, their historic series appears to be over. Speaking with Ariel Helwani on Wednesday’s episode of The MMA Hour, ‘Poatan’ looked back on his time competing with Adesanya and even opened the door to the two fighters potentially work with one another in the gym.

“Anything can happen, but at this point, I think that it’s over even to a point that we could both train together if it comes down to that,” Pereira said through a translator. “If that ever happens, Israel is a very experienced guy. I am a very experienced guy. We have similar styles of high-level striking, but we have different aspects of the game that one could add to the other. But if it comes down to us fighting, it will be good, but it’s not something I’m holding onto anymore.”

He added, “I don’t feel like we’ll fight again. If I somehow felt that we were going to fight again, then no. But if I could be absolutely sure that we would never face each other in the Octagon again, why not?”

Alex Pereira already trains with another former opponent

It wouldn’t be the first time Alex Pereira has teamed up with a former opponent. After scoring a first-round knockout against Sean Strickland at UFC 276, ‘Poatan’ welcomed the opportunity to train with ‘Tarzan’ ahead of Strickland’s own title opportunity against Adesanya.

Sean Strickland for example is a good friend now,” Pereira noted. “Once it’s over in the ring, you’ve got to let it go because you can add [something] to your game.

Immediately following Saturday’s UFC 298 pay-per-view in Anaheim, Dana White revealed that Alex Pereira will headline UFC 300, putting his 205-pound crown on the line against former titleholder Jamahal Hill. It will be Pereira’s first defense of the belt following his UFC 295 victory over Jiri Prochazka in November.

READ MORE:  Max Holloway open to fiery Conor McGregor rematch for BMF belt after UFC 300 win: 'We got options'