When it comes to UFC 287, Alex Pereira agrees with Israel Adesanya’s coach.
In February, Adesanya’s longtime coach Eugene Bareman told MMA Fighting that he would have liked the former champion to sit out and wait longer before heading straight into an immediate rematch against Pereira, who knocked Adesanya out with a fifth-round barrage to capture the UFC middleweight championship at UFC 281 this past November.
But Adesanya didn’t want to wait. The rematch is instead set for Saturday at UFC 287 in Miami — and Pereira would have sided with Bareman if he was a member of his team.
“If he was on my team, I would tell him, ‘Man, don’t do this fight now,’” Pereira said at UFC 287 media day on Wednesday. “He’s had a brilliant career but he saw there’s no success against me, so I would definitely advise him against doing this fight now. Fight once or twice, and then come back and try again.”
The issue, Pereira surmised, is that perhaps Adesanya is the one who makes the final call over at Bareman’s City Kickboxing gym in New Zealand.
“I think he’s the man in charge, the one who says, ‘I want this and that’s it,’” Pereira said. “I don’t know. It’s not like myself, Glover [Teixeira], and the team. We talk about things. You have to guide your athlete, because if someone asks a true fighter if he wants to fight someone, he’ll always say yes. But sometimes it’s not the [right] moment.
“That’s why you must have a team where people understand each other. Forget the ego and things will work. Glover and I talk a lot. He has a ton of experience and I definitely listen to him. I think Adesanya didn’t listen. I’m sure many important people told him not to do this, but he has the final word. It’s his ego as a fighter, but OK then, let’s go.”
In the end, “Poatan” feels UFC 287 will be his final clash with the Nigerian talent if he’s victorious Saturday, considering he’ll improve to 4-0 over Adesanya in two different sports.
“Beating him now, I think I’ll never see him again,” Pereira said.