Alex Pereira doesn’t want to waste any time talking about Khamzat Chimaev as a middleweight contender.
Days away from his first defense as UFC middleweight champion, a rematch against Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 287 this Saturday in Miami, Pereira dismissed Chimaev as a factor in the middleweight pecking order.
“Whoever the UFC puts against me after this fight, I’ll be willing and ready,” Pereira said at UFC 287’s media day. “Talking about [Paulo Costa] ‘Borrachinha’ and [Robert] Whittaker, I respect them. I don’t see them talking trash at me, wanting to promote themselves. Chimaev ran from everybody.”
Chimaev, who beat Kevin Holland in a 180-pound catchweight bout in his most recent UFC appearance to improve to 12-0 in MMA, called out Pereira moments after the champ’s victory over Adesanya at UFC 281. Pereira said he offered to face Chimaev in a light heavyweight bout in January given the short time frame, but “Chimaev didn’t want it.”
Chimaev recently said he could finish the Brazilian in the “first round, first minute” if they ever fought.
“I’m not lost as he is,” Pereira said Wednesday. “Chimaev, I’ll not even talk about him.”
Pereira still has to get the job done in Miami before thinking about his next contenders, but he appears to have ruled out a potential move to the 205-pound division in the near future.
“I’m a heavy guy, I’m a big guy, but all my work has been done in this division,” Pereira said. “It was [two pounds] heavier in kickboxing and we know that makes a difference, but I want to make history in this division. I’ve said that many times before. My body will tell me when it’s time to move up in weight, but I’m feeling great now.”