Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira completed another chapter in their shared legacy on Saturday and afterwards it was all respect.
Shortly after the main event of UFC 287, which saw Israel Adesanya reclaim the middleweight title with a second-round knockout of his longtime rival, the two met backstage and shared a few kind words with one another.
See video of the encounter below.
This is what it's all about.— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) April 9, 2023
@Stylebender vs. @AlexPereiraUFC has created moments that will last a lifetime. #UFC287 pic.twitter.com/Aw8LOYvqlD
Respect forged in combat. ⚔️ #UFC287 pic.twitter.com/CYHmp5S0RQ— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) April 9, 2023
“You are a great champion,” Adesanya said to Pereira, echoing sentiments he expressed in his post-fight victory speech. “Forever, it doesn’t matter what anyone says, you are always a champion. I will always respect you.”
Pereira returned the respect and then he and Adesanya embraced.
Saturday’s headliner marked the fourth combat sports meeting between Adesanya and Pereira, with Pereira twice defeating Adesanya in their pre-UFC days when both were stars in the world of kickboxing. Pereira fought his way to a title fight against Adesanya at UFC 281, where he handed Adesanya his first loss at 185 pounds with a fifth-round knockout flurry.
Adesanya now avenges that loss, making him a two-time middleweight champion and improving his record to 8-1 in UFC title fights at 185 pounds. Whether the UFC sees fit to book an MMA trilogy bout for Adesanya and Pereira remains to be seen.