- Pereira is the first UFC fighter to headline a Madison Square Garden event twice
- He was speaking at a press conference ahead of the light-heavyweight fight against Jiri Prochazka
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Former UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira has opened up about becoming the first fighter to headline Madison Square Garden two years in a row – and insists he is thrilled with the accolade, despite what his face shows.
Pereira, 36, will face Jiri Prochazka in Saturday night’s main bout in New York, after Jon Jones’ injury scuppered his previously scheduled – and highly anticipated – fight with Stipe Miocic.
Speaking through a translator at Thursday’s pre-fight press conference, Pereira marveled at the chance to win his second title at UFC 295.
“It’s such a special moment and believe me, I’m very happy,” Pereira said. “I don’t smile much, but believe me, I’m happy.”
Pereira dethroned middleweight kingship rival Israel Adesanya in his first event in the world’s most famous arena in 2022. On Saturday, Pereira returns to the Big Apple, hoping to capture gold in his second light heavyweight appearance.
Alex Pereira says he’s excited to headline Madison Square Garden again at UFC 295
Pereira will fight former champion Jiri Prochazka for the light heavyweight title on Saturday
In 2022, Pereira scored a late TKO victory over Israel Adesanya to win the middleweight title
“Everyone knows the history and what I was able to achieve here,” Pereira added.
Pereira’s rise in MMA has been meteoric as he looks to capture a second title in just eleven fights.
The former Glory Kickboxing champion has an 8-2 record. If he is successful on Saturday, Pereira will become the fastest fighter to win two titles, overtaking MMA pioneer Randy Couture.
But when drawing comparisons to MMA greats, Pereira claims to be more focused on wins than accolades.”
“I don’t think about it that much, what I did was do my job,” Pereira said. “When I did what I did at Glory, I wasn’t thinking about the Hall of Fame, I just wanted to be a champion and I did that… same thing in the UFC.”
Pereira faces his toughest challenge yet in Prochazka. But with six knockout wins, Pereira has turned the odds in his favor and become the favorite to become champion.