Exclusive – The Schmo Dubs Alex Pereira ‘One of the great stories of mixed martial arts’ in 2023

Alex Pereira

Renowned MMA journalist The Schmo believes Alex Pereira was one of the most exciting things about the sport in 2023.

The ‘Brazilian Boogeyman’ entered the year as the reigning UFC middleweight champion following a brutal fifth-round knockout of longtime rival Israel Adesanya at UFC 281. He would hand the title back to ‘The Last Stylebender’ five months later, suffering a KO in the second round that would become his first, and to this date, the only loss inside the Octagon.

Having already climbed to the top of the middleweight mountain in just four fights, Pereira was ready for a new challenge. ‘Poatan’ made the move to light heavyweight for a showdown with former world champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 291. It was arguably the toughest test of Pereira’s career considering Blachowicz himself holds a victory over Adesanya.

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After three closely contested rounds, Pereira walked away with a split decision win, immediately earning himself a shot at the 205-pound crown.

In November, Pereira closed out his year in spectacular fashion, besting ex-champ Jiri Prochazka at the promotion’s 30th-anniversary showcase to claim the vacant light heavyweight title and become a two-division champion less than two years removed from his UFC debut.

“There’s always going to be names that just shoot out of a cannon,” The Schmo told Mike Owens in an exclusive interview with Lowkick MMA. Think about how quickly Alex Pereira came up. I think that’s another story that we should talk about as one of the great stories of mixed martial arts and one of the great stories of 2023. The adversity he faced, losing to Izzy. Izzy finally got the win, he goes up to light heavyweight, he beats Jan Blachowicz, and then he gets the title shot and beats Jiri [Prochazka].

“I think he’s one of the best stories in MMA, Alex Pereira, and if you look at him and how quickly he rose… Obviously, he had the kickboxing accolades, but he still had to learn jiu-jitsu pretty quickly and credit to Glover Teixeira and all of those guys over there in Connecticut because they do a great job and you’re gonna see that and I think that’s a beautiful thing with this sport, especially as it continues to grow.

What comes next for Alex Pereira remains to be seen. All signs point toward an inevitable showdown with Jamahal Hill once ‘Sweet Dreams’ recovers from a ruptured Achilles he sustained over the summer. However, the former GLORY Kickboxing champion recently expressed interest in going for a third world title, potentially challenging interim UFC heavyweight titleholder Tom Aspinall at the promotion’s next big milestone event, UFC 300.

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Do you want to see Alex Pereira go for a third piece of UFC hardware at the mega-sized event on April 13?

Watch the full exclusive interview below: