UFC Champion Alex Pereira Welcomes Israel Adesanya As Training Partner Under One Condition: “Why Not?”

Could Pereira and Adesanya be training partners one day?

Israel Adesanya
Image Credit: Israel Adesanya's Instagram

Alex Pereira is open to training with his rival Israel Adesanya if the two never go one-on-one again.

The rivalry between “Poatan” and “The Last Stylebender” is one that combat sports fans won’t soon forget. Pereira had two victories over “Izzy” under the Glory Kickboxing banner, including a brutal left hook knockout. Pereira defeated Adesanya a third time via TKO at UFC 281 back in November 2022. At UFC 287, Adesanya finally got one over on Pereira, knocking him out in the second round to regain the UFC Middleweight Championship.

If the rivalry is truly over, Alex Pereira wouldn’t mind sparring with Israel Adesanya.

Alex Pereira Not Opposed To Training With Israel Adesanya

During an in-studio appearance on “The MMA Hour,” Pereira was joined by his coach Plinio Cruz for translations. During the show, Pereira revealed that he’d welcome training with Adesanya if he can be sure that the two won’t be going fighting each other again.

“He feels that it’s over, but anything can happen,” Pereira’s coach relayed. “If he shows interest, the organization shows interest, he’ll do that fight. But, at this point the way that he was shown he thinks it’s over. Even to a point that he thinks they could both even train together if it came down to that because he feels that if that ever happened, Israel is a very experienced guy, Alex is a very experienced guy, similar styles of high-level striking, different aspects of the game that one could add to the other. But, if it comes down to that fight it would be good, but that’s not something he’s holding onto anymore.”

Pereira pointed out that he had a rivalry in Glory Kickboxing that was more intense than the one he’s had with “Izzy.” 

“Just the fact that he don’t think they’ll fight no more. If somehow he feels they’ll still fight again, no, but if he could be absolutely sure that they’ll never fight again, why not? When he was fighting for Glory Kickboxing he had an even bigger rivalry against Yousri Belgaroui. One tried to beat the other, they fought three times, and later down the road when it was over, Yousri became a friend, showed up the last three camps, stayed in the corner with us, we corner him. So, Alex says that when still competing it’s good to have a big rivalry, but after it’s done you can’t hold onto it. You gotta let it go.”

The one holdup in such a training duo could be the fact that Adesanya has some unfinished business with Sean Strickland, who defeated him back in September 2023. Strickland trains with Adesanya, so until that score is settled we may not see Pereira and Adesanya spar with one another.

Here is Alex Pereira’s full appearance on “The MMA Hour:”

Published on February 22, 2024 at 11:05 am
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