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Michel Pereira considered quitting during UFC Vancouver bout: ‘My weight cut f***ed everything’

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Michel Pereira doing a backflip against Tristan Connelly at UFC Vancouver on Saturday
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A weight cut gone wrong affected Michel Pereira’s performance so much inside the Octagon at UFC Vancouver that he considered quitting in the second round against Tristan Connelly this past Saturday, he told MMA Fighting.

Pereira missed the welterweight limit by one pound the morning before the fight in Canada, stepping on the scale at 172 pounds. Pereira cut 38.5 pounds in the final two and a half weeks before UFC Vancouver, but was alone for the final days of his weight cut while his physical therapist was dealing with visa issues to enter Canada.

According to the Brazilian fighter, cutting weight improperly is what led to him getting tired after the first round, not his pre-fight dancing routine nor his backflips and unorthodox moves in the first minutes of the contest.

“My weight cut f***ed everything,” Pereira told MMA Fighting. “I cut weight the wrong way and that totaled my body in the second round. I was feeling well in the first round, but my rhythm was so intense and my body wasn’t fully recovered yet. I wouldn’t have done that if I knew my body wouldn’t handle it.

“I was alone in the sauna to cut weight, afraid that something could happen and there would be no one there to help me. I don’t speak English, there would be no one there to save me. A lot of things led to me missing weight. When I finally had someone there to help me on Thursday night, I tried to cut too much weight and that caused my body to shut down in the second round.”

A 35-fight veteran in the game, Pereira admits he got to the point of considering tapping out due to exhaustion in the second stanza.

“I defended his submission attempts even though I was dead tired, wanting to give up, feeling I wasn’t able to do anything, but I still survived and defended his jiu-jitsu (attacks),” Pereira said. “There were moments in the fight that I thought about giving up, but I never gave up in my life so I wouldn’t do that. I would never give up.”

“In the second and third rounds, I was in a pretty bad shape there,” he said when asked at which points he considered giving up. “But I never gave up before and wouldn’t do it now. You have to finish me to beat me.”

Pereira was considered must-watch TV after his first-round knockout over Danny Roberts in his Octagon debut in May. Months later, he’s seen as a joke, a clown—and much worse things—on social media following his first UFC defeat.

He’s not bothered by any of this, and promises to keep his fighting style when he steps into the eight-sided cage next.

“I’m still young, this is only my second UFC fight, so I’ll continue to put on a show and winning ‘Fight of the Night’ bonuses again,” Pereira said. “No disrespect to my opponent, but we won the ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus because of me. Everyone loves my style. Those who don’t love it are jealous people who just like to talk bad things about others. I’m ready to do it again. I’ll fix the mistakes I’ve made and put on a show again, but this time my body will be alright.”

“Some say my style is just me trying to make fun of my opponent, but I disagree,” he continued. “Making fun of someone is showing them the tongue, asking them to punch you in the face. My movements are part of my fighting style. Every move I make is dangerous, it’s meant to distract my opponent and confuse them. Many criticized my backflip, but I did that and followed with a kick to the fence and a flying knee. He would still be in the hospital if that landed. If you make a mistake, you’re getting knocked out. That’s my style and it won’t change. These critics won’t make me change my style.”

Down to 1-1 in the UFC, Pereira says his manager is hoping to secure him a spot at the upcoming Fight Night card in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 16. He’s not against moving up to middleweight next, a weight class he has competed at in the past, but guarantees he has no problem making 170 pounds in eight weeks.