Daniel Cormier believes that the scheduling of Alex Pereira’s rematch with Israel Adesanya was influenced by a number of different elements. This past November, at UFC 281, Pereira defeated Adesanya to become the champion of the middleweight division.
When taking into consideration Adesanya’s strong title reign at 185 pounds, a rematch with Pereira felt like an inevitability. However, Cormier is of the opinion that the timing of the announcement for the rematch for the title bout was unexpected. The promotion made the announcement that Pereira (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) and Adesanya (23-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) would go back and forth in the main event of UFC 287, which will take place on April 8.
“Two factors: Why is it happening now? And for what reason is it happening?” Cormier said on his YouTube channel.
“One: Obviously we all knew that it would be at Israel Adesanya’s decision or discretion whether or not he would get a championship fight. From the moment he lost, I was saying and screaming from the rooftops, ‘If anyone deserves an immediate rematch, it’s Israel Adesanya.’
“Because of what he had done in the middleweight division, and honestly what he had done to start his UFC and mixed martial arts career. He deserves a rematch and honestly, for Alex Pereira, it would seem to be the best matchup for him in terms of a first-title defense.”
The tale of Pereira and Adesanya is so compelling that it practically sells itself. Pereira currently has a three-win advantage over “The Stylebender,” with two of the victories coming in kickboxing. But before he was knocked out, Adesanya was well on his way to victory in both of their most recent bouts. Former two-division UFC champion-turned-commentator and analyst Daniel Cormier speculates that Adesanya may have been nervous about missing out on the immediate rematch since Pereira mentioned the potential of avenging his colleague Glover Teixeira‘s loss to Jamahal Hill and facing Robert Whittaker.
“Maybe he’s worried that if Pereira fights someone else, he loses,” Cormier added.
“Izzy still holds a ton of cards but I just questioned whether or not the decisions being made are based – or the timing of the decision is based on this newfound push that Alex has been experiencing because of Jamahal being the champion and beating his mentor and training partner in Glover Teixeira. It just didn’t feel like this was in the works before.”