Johnny Walker is more than willing to welcome Alex Pereira to the light heavyweight division.
Scoring back-to-back first-round finishes against Ion Cutelaba and Paul Craig in his last two appearances, Walker will look to make it three-in-a-row when he squares off with perennial contender Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith on May 13. The two fighters will meet in a co-main event clash as the promotion heads to the Spectrum Center in North Carolina.
Before seeking another big win inside the Octagon, Johnny Walker sat down with James Lynch in a MiddleEasy exclusive to discuss some of the biggest news stories coming out of last weekend’s UFC 287 card. Of course, none are bigger than Israel Adesanya recapturing the middleweight title with a spectacular second-round knockout of longtime rival Alex Pereira. Sharing his thoughts on Adesanya’s performance, Walker said:
“Pretty good. I like his defense now. I knew when I watched the replay in slow motion, Pereira was [fighting] with his hands way low. You can’t have a very good attack, but not much defense. I was like that before. I was full attack and no defense and this is why I got caught. I can knock anybody out, but can I protect myself? If you don’t protect yourself, that’s what happens. You get knocked out.
“Now that I’m mature, I understand more when I watched this fight and I see that Alex needs to work more on his defense,” Walker continued. “[Keep] his hands a little bit more high and tuck his chin a little bit low, protect with his shoulders so he can avoid getting knocked out and [taking] big shots. It’s all experience.”
Slow motion shot of the Israel Adesanya's KO over Alex Pereira at UFC 287 pic.twitter.com/j6n4aGVmKr
— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) April 10, 2023
Johnny Walker Says There Will Be No Shortage of 205-ers Ready to Welcome Alex Pereira to the Weight Class
With little left to prove in the middleweight division, Alex Pereira is eyeing a potential move to 205. Sharing his thoughts on the possibility of Pereira invading his own weight class, Johnny Walker suggested that there will be no shortage of fighters willing to welcome ‘Poatan’ to 205.
“Everyone’s going to be happy to welcome him,” Walker said.
As far as whether or not he himself is interested in meeting the former middleweight king inside the cage, Walker said he doesn’t make the fights, but he would happily accept the opportunity should it present himself.
“Yeah, whatever it takes. This is what I do for a living. I don’t pick fights. Whatever the UFC books for me, I accept. If I get the opportunity, mission accomplished.”
Currently sitting in the No. 7 slot of the light heavyweight rankings, Johnny Walker could find himself in the top five with a big win over Anthony Smith next month, making him a much more viable option for Alex Pereira. It could also directly lead to a UFC title opportunity, though that road will likely be blocked by Jan Blachowicz or Magomed Ankalaev.
Would you like to see Johnny Walker take on Alex Pereira in a light-heavyweight war?