Former three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen said Alex Pereira is the worst middleweight champion in UFC history.
Following Alex Pereira’s shocking fifth-round knockout of ‘The Last Stylebender’ Israel Adesanya at UFC 281, fighters are coming out of the woodwork to either praise Pereira’s striking skills or disparage his alleged lack of a ground game. As an accomplished wrestler, Chael Sonnen leans on the latter but addresses the claims that Pereira is the worst man to hold the title on his YouTube channel.
“Alex Pereira is the worst middleweight champion of all time. That’s the claim, now you need supporting evidence. The evidence is he’s the champion of the world and Bo Nickal could beat him and Bo Nickal has never even fought in the UFC before. That’s the statement. There it is. Boom.”
Bo Nickal, a three-time NCAA Division I national champion, recently signed with the UFC after back-to-back submission victories on Dana White’s Contender Series.
“It would appear that if you were good at wrestling, that you could take him down. It would appear that. Now, we haven’t seen that. Like, we don’t actually have evidence of that. We saw Pereira on bottom after a scramble. There was a takedown attempt initiated by him. Izzy flipped his hips and came out on top. There didn’t appear at least within that sequence to be a submission threat or a reversal threat. That specific sequence was very workmanlike.”
Alex Pereira has now defeated Israel Adesanya on 3 different continents (Asia, South America, North America).😳
— The MMA Media (@The_MMA_Media) November 17, 2022
Chael Sonnen Questions Which Former Middleweight Champion Could Effectively Wrestle With Alex Pereira
Chael Sonnen was willing to look at other aspects of the middleweight championship bout at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, including Alex Pereira’s impressive weight cut that saw the fighter drop an incredible 53-pounds according to Sonnen. Then being able to step into a massive main event at the most famous arena in the world just three fights into his UFC career and be competitive against one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world.
Those are things Sonnen points out that Pereira’s critics are clearly not looking at. Sure, a more proficient wrestler could potentially take down Pereira and grind out a 25-minute unanimous decision, if not a submission, but that’s not an excuse to discredit the man’s accomplishment.
“How sure are you really that this is the worst ever? How sure are you really that those other champions could have beat him? And which champion is it you think had the grappling power to get him down in the first place? I mean, what champion do you think… This is the worst ever. We’ve already put him in a category of only champions. We’re not going through the field. We’re not going through the roster. We’re just looking at other champions.
“What champion at middleweight, wrestling, and grappling, was so dominant that you know he could take Pereira down? He could keep him there or finish him or be able to keep him there for the better part of five rounds? Rockhold was champion. Do you think Rockhold just comes in and takes him down? Bisping was champion. Does Bisping come out and just take him down? Anderson Silva was champion. Does Anderson Silva. Does he just come out and take him down?
“I’ll play this game with you all day. I’m not trying to juxtapose Pereira against some of your heroes. I’m just asking you which hero is it that you’re so sure could walk in there and handle Pereira?”