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Alex Pereira says he offered to fight Khamzat Chimaev in light heavyweight bout at UFC 283: ‘Chimaev didn’t want it’

Alex Pereira was aware of Khamzat Chimaev’s callout following his middleweight championship victory at UFC 281 and says that he was ready to take Chimaev up on his offer — with a condition.

Pereira stopped longtime rival Israel Adesanya earlier this month in the fifth round to win the title earlier this month at Madison Square Garden in New York City. After the fight, Chimaev took to social media challenging Pereira to a fight, calling the new champ “easy money,” and that he’d finish Pereira in a round or less — and he would take the fight in Brazil.

Speaking with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour on Monday, Pereira and coach Plinio Cruz reacted to Chimaev’s callout and said that they were open to a fight at the January pay-per-view event at light heavyweight.

“[I] went to [my] manager sand said, ‘Look, I just did a hard weight cut, I can’t make [185] for this right now, but tell the UFC I’ll challenge him to fight me at 205 at [UFC 283] in Rio.’ Chimaev didn’t want it,” Pereira said on The MMA Hour.

“He’s a big guy, [I’m] a big guy, let’s do it at light heavyweight so we don’t have to worry about a weight cut. We offered 205 for Rio.”

A source close to Chimaev told MMA Fighting on Monday that Pereira and his coach’s claims were inaccurate.

Chimaev last competed at September’s UFC 279 event where he finished Kevin Holland via submission in the first round, although Holland wasn’t his original opponent. “Borz” was scheduled to headline the card against Nate Diaz but missed weight by 7.5 pounds that led to the entire card being shuffled around, and to additional questions about the future of Chimaev in regards to what weight class he would fight at.

In a since deleted Tweet, Chimaev claimed to have accepted a fight with Pereira at UFC 282 on Dec. 10.

Following a 20-plus minute battle with Adesanya, Pereira needs time to recover, which made the final pay-per-view card of the year not a possibility — which Pereira and his team say Chimaev is well aware of.

“Everybody that watched my fight saw that it was a hard fight, they know that he got hurt, needed to recover, so it’s impossible,” Pereira said. “He just goes after what is impossible.

“When I fought Strickland, it was a done deal I’d be fighting for the title next, so Chimaev wanted to jump on the hype train again, ‘I’ll fight you,’ and again, he knew it wasn’t going to happen because he was booked for a title fight so he chose to do that to promote himself.”

Update: Chimaev just responded on social media to Pereira’s claims.

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