The former UFC champion didn’t waste any time informing the public of his immediate plans, revealing via YouTube that he would be moving up in weight on Wednesday night following his recent dethroning. When viewed from the outside, it seems like a miracle that the gigantic 6-foot-4-inch Pereira has been able to make the weight limit of 185 pounds nine times during his career in mixed martial arts battles.
Once unbeaten in UFC competition, Pereira was defeated by Israel Adesanya in a rematch for the middleweight championship last Saturday at UFC 287 in Miami. Pereira does not want people to believe that he is no longer able to compete in the weight class in which he previously held a world title, despite the fact that he has weighed as much as 232 pounds several months after previous fight camps.
“Many people questioned [my weight cut] but I always went there and fulfilled my obligation, but now is a great moment to move up a division,” Pereira said in his native Portuguese. “You see Adesanya’s post-fight provocations, he treats this win like it’s 3-1 for him and it’s not quite like that. I understand his joy — or try to understand it — it was his dream to win once against me and he’s done it, but let’s see what his behavior is now.”
In addition, Pereira stated that he has not set a time or opponent for his move to the light heavyweight division. Pereira, now 35 years old, made a complete commitment to mixed martial arts in 202 after a spectacular kickboxing career in which he competed at 185 and 205 pounds. After compiling a record of 3-1, Pereira was offered a contract with the UFC, and he made his debut in promotional bouts not long after his coach and mentor Glover Teixeira won the light heavyweight championship. Because of these factors, in addition to his previous encounters with Adesanya, he determined that it was in his best interest to compete at the middleweight level, where he was already certain he could be successful.
If Pereira had defended his title against Adesanya at UFC 287 last weekend, he would have been expected to make the weight cut eventually. Sadly for Pereira, his rival in combat sports earned his first victory over him in their four-bout series by knocking him out in the second round of their fight.