UFC middleweight hopeful Andre Muniz doesn’t expect to see Alex Pereira sitting at the throne when it’s his time to challenge for the belt.
Days away from facing Brendan Allen in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 70 on Saturday, Muniz hopes to add a sixth straight victory to his perfect UFC career. “Sergipano” said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca he thinks it’s a matter of time before Pereira leaves for another weight class.
Pereira, 3-0 against Israel Adesanya in two sports, will give the Nigerian star an immediate rematch at UFC 287 after claiming the belt this past November. Asked if he sees potential for “Poatan” to have a long reign as champion despite having a kickboxing-heavy style and not much experience in MMA, Muniz said that’s not the reason why he would predict a short life at the top.
“Fights are fought and it’s hard to say something like that, to speculate,” Muniz said. “Having potential, having that weapon that brings difficulty or fear to the opponent is one thing, but being able to utilize that is another thing. If you see the amount of time he’s devoting to MMA and his results, that’s surprising. This guy has such a short amount of time in MMA and already is the world champion. I can’t say otherwise, this guy is a phenom.
“I think maybe his biggest difficulty might be making weight because Poatan is a big guy. We see his social media and he’s always around 220 pounds, so it’s hard to make championship weight at 185. Maybe that’s why he won’t have a long reign in this division.”
Pereira has voiced his interest of going up to 205 pounds before, especially after Jamahal Hill beat his longtime friend and training partner Glover Teixeira for the light heavyweight title earlier this year in Rio de Janeiro.
“I believe he will defend this title [against Adesanya] and, with a win, he moves up a division,” Muniz said. “I don’t think he’ll have as many title defenses for so long, especially to preserve his body and have a longer career. It takes a toll on the body and sooner or later he will pay the price with his performance.”
Muniz admits he didn’t want to watch Pereira defend his title against Adesanya next and not because he would rather see someone else challenge for the 185-pound gold.
“I would like to see Poatan moving up and fighting Jamahal,” Muniz said. “I think every Brazilian would watch to see that. That vengeance thing in the air, especially since Poatan trains with Glover. But this fight has to happen for the division.”
“I’m definitely cheering for Poatan [vs. Adesanya],” he continued. “He’s from Brazil, his life history of overcoming things, a true winner. He really represents what Brazil is all about, a guy that went through a lot and bounced back like Charles [Oliveira] and Glover did, and became champion. I’m cheering for him. I hope he wins easier this time around, finishes him earlier and doesn’t make us nervous [laughs].”