Glover Teixeira: Israel Adesanya doesn’t want to fight Alex Pereira again, ‘especially at light heavyweight’
Alex Pereira called out Israel Adesanya for a trilogy bout after claiming the UFC light heavyweight championship this past weekend at Madison Square Garden, but “The Last Stylebender” didn’t sound too interested in fighting him one more time.
Adesanya took on social media to react to Pereira’s title-winning knockout over Jiri Prochazka at UFC 295, saying he’s still living “rent free” in Pereira’s head after stopping the Brazilian earlier this year. “Poatan” rebounded from that defeat to score wins over Jan Blachowicz and Prochazka and conquer the 205-pound belt, while Adesanya dropped the middleweight crown to Sean Strickland.
Pereira’s longtime training partner and friend Glover Teixeira was once again in his corner in New York and told MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast he’s not surprised by Adesanya’s lack of interest, considering the Nigerian talent has lost three out of four bouts to Pereira in both MMA and kickboxing.
“I don’t want to keep talking because sometimes it will come out like I’m talking sh*t and I’m not that type of guy, but Adesanya doesn’t want to fight him,” Teixeira said. “Adesanya is in a great position right now, he has a lot of money. I’m not saying he’s scared. If he had never won the [UFC] belt he would definitely move up and fight Alex for this belt, but he’s at the top of the world, man. Do you think he’s going to fight this guy?
“He probably wants more of special fights now, easier guys. To go there and fight someone from a previous generation, a former champion, maybe Anderson Silva again, or [Paulo Costa] ‘Borrachinha’. F*ck, man. [Pereira] at light heavyweight? Poor guy.”
Adesanya recently hinted at the idea of taking some time off from the sport to eventually return by 2027 following the upset loss to Strickland, and Teixeira insists that Pereira is still the most lucrative opponent for him in the UFC.
“It’s the fight that gives him the most money,” Teixeira said. “I believe he gets paid double if he fights ‘Poatan’ instead of any other, but guess who he’s going to fight. It’s like people say, ’If you get paid double, do you do this work?’ ‘I’ll do it, man.’ But it depends. How many people say ‘I don’t work for that person even if they pay me double’? He’ll be like, ‘I don’t want ‘Poatan’ ever again, man. Especially at light heavyweight.’”
Teixeira once held the 205-pound title in the UFC before losing to Prochazka, the man his friend just beat to claim the crown, and said he anticipated Pereira’s move up a weight class after seeing how much he suffered in the gym to hit the 185-pound limit. That decision, Teixeira said, will “definitely” prolong his career.
As for Pereira beating his old nemesis and potentially facing Jamahal Hill next, who defeated Teixeira in his retirement bout this past January, the Brazilian veteran says there’s no feeling of vengeance in the air.
“There’s no such thing like vengeance in MMA, at least not for us,” Teixeira said. “The belt is with my friend now and that’s what matters. Sure, bring it to the gym, we get more love in the city, representing Connecticut and Brazil. We brought it home, but what really makes me happy is that he has the belt, you know?”
Yet, Teixeira jokes that he “helped” Pereira by “breaking” both Prochazka and Hill before “Poatan” had to fight them. Both fighters suffered serious injuries after defeating Teixeira in UFC title fights, eventually vacating the belt.
“They fought me and won, but they still haven’t fought,” Teixeira laughed. “They stayed more than a year without fighting. If I wasn’t retired I would have fought three times before they ever came back [laughs]. We work as a team, and ‘Poatan’ goes in there to knock them out now.”