Former UFC middleweight champion and multidivision kickboxing champion Alex Pereira is moving up in weight after his knockout loss to Israel Adesanya last weekend.
Pereira, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, formally announced the news Thursday on his YouTube channel. Pereira won the UFC's 185-pound championship by knocking out Adesanya in the fifth round of a title fight in November. He looked good Saturday in an immediate title rematch at UFC 287 in Miami before Adesanya rocked him with a counter right hand and handed him his first defeat in the UFC.
"My next fight will be at 205 [pounds]," Pereira said. "I think I did my work at 185 [pounds] and now I'm feeling good to go up to 205. Like I told you, when I'm feeling good, I will go up. This will be something natural and now I think it is. I want to make one thing clear: The division 185, I always made weight. A lot of people had doubts, but I always fulfilled my obligation."
Pereira (7-2) did not specify a potential opponent. The 35-year-old does have an indirect history of sorts with current champion Jamahal Hill (12-1), who won the UFC championship in January by defeating Pereira's teammate and mentor Glover Teixeira in Brazil. Pereira was in Teixeira's corner for that fight at UFC 283.
Pereira's rise to middleweight champion was incredibly fast. He booked a UFC title fight in just his eighth professional MMA bout, in part because of a history with Adesanya. The two fought twice in the kickboxing ring earlier in their careers. Pereira won a controversial decision in 2016, and then knocked out Adesanya in a rematch in 2017.
Adesanya has shown no interest in fighting Pereira a fifth time -- third in MMA. He has, however, always shown interest in trying to win a second championship at 205 pounds. If Pereira claims the light heavyweight title, the stage could be set for another chapter in their rivalry.
The UFC does not currently have Hill's next title defense booked at 205 pounds.