Even a guy like Alex Pereira has fear in his system.
The UFC Middleweight Champion is as scary as they come, especially after dispatching of Israel Adesanya once again to take the throne at UFC 281. But, don’t let Pereira’s insane knockout power blind you, he’s still human after all… he has feelings like the rest of us.
Pereira Admits He Was Afraid To Fight Strickland
One of those feelings would be fear, which was present in his title eliminator fight with Sean Strickland. While Pereira would go on to overpower his opponent, ‘Poatan’ would surprisingly reveal he was actually scared to fight Strickland at UFC 276.
“[Strickland] had 25 fights, was doing well in the UFC, ranked No. 4 in the middleweight rankings, he’s dangerous, he’s experienced,” Pereira told So Papos MMA (h/t: MMA Mania). “I was scared, but when I heard him talk, I relaxed a little bit. He is a good fighter and a experienced one, but he was talking some stuff that didn’t make any sense. For a few months since the fight was booked I had fear, but it was under control.
“But I’ll tell you when I was the most afraid. Everything he said and up until the weigh-in, everything was fine. When he entered the octagon and started staring at me, he hadn’t looked at me that way before. That was when I became scared.”
‘This Guy Wants To Kill Me’
Pereira went on to describe how it was to get into the cage with Strickland.
“He’s another person inside the Octagon, different from his normal personality. I thought, ‘this guy wants to kill me’”, Pereira added. “I’m telling you, this was a different guy from everything else. But in the end it was good that he entered the octagon this way, because it woke me up.
“I became aware of the danger, I knew I couldn’t make mistakes. I said damn, he’s different in here, you have to be careful with this man. I went in smarter and managed to catch him.”
Alex Pereira would overcome his fear by delivering a knockout of Sean Strickland within just a few minutes. The addition to the highlight reel was the stepping stone Pereira needed for his current UFC title.