Pepey lost a decision to Elkins in July, but the fight could have gone completely different if Pepey had listened to his cornermen. Andre Dida, Pepey's coach at Evolucao Thai, asked the Brazilian veteran not to pull guard against Elkins, but that was all Pepey did during the fight.
After getting heat from fans on social media, Pepey came back a different fighter at UFC Fight Night 95 in Brasilia and tapped Mike De La Torre in the first round on Sept. 24.
"I thank the fans and the critics that helped me fix my game and my mistakes," Pepey said after the win. "I’m happy with this win. I came here to finish him and I got what I wanted. I had my family around me this time. I said that my last loss was hiccup, and I showed it this time. I’m back."
Pepey improved to 5-4 under the UFC banner, scoring his fourth first-round stoppage win in his past five fights. Feeling more confident now, the Brazilian feels he can challenge anyone in the featherweight division.
"Three minutes and it was over. I came with everything. I didn’t want to score points. That’s my style," Pepey said. "I’ll fight anyone in the division. It’s nothing new to me. This is my hobby. It’s fun to me. And my jiu-jitsu is superior to most of my opponents’."
Pepey’s next move is still up in the air, but he hopes to be back in action at UFC 206, scheduled for Dec. 10 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
"Whenever they call me, I’ll be back," Pepey said. "I don’t have a specific opponent, but I can beat anyone in the division. I want to fight someone from the top 10 to show how much I’m worth in this division. I want to fight in Toronto. If the UFC gives me this chance, I’m ready. I’ll turn the engine back on and brawl."