Star Talks Terrifying UFC Champ Alex Pereira: ‘I Could Beat Pereira, Easy’

Israel Adesanya & Alex Pereira

Getty Israel Adesanya & Alex Pereira

Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold believes that he could topple the current 185-pound title holder, Alex Pereira, with the proper preparation.

Rockhold is no longer a part of the promotion and he’s scheduled to fight former UFC welterweight star Mike Perry in a bare-knuckle boxing match as the BKFC 41 headliner on April 29 in Denver, Colorado.

And now that he’s gotten his body on the right track, Rockhold doesn’t see himself losing any time soon, whether that be in BKFC or the UFC.

“Do I still think I could compete at the top — with a healthy body and a good training camp? Yeah,” Rockhold said to MMA Junkie. “I think I could beat Pereira, easy. I’m sure. Do I wanna go through that process of getting up to him? Not quite yet. I took three years off and did nothing. Just getting back to the Paulo Costa fight was a lot for me. Now I’m continuing to train. That was like my base point. Now I’m getting better.”

The 38-year-old fighter hasn’t closed the door on a potential UFC return; however, he’s stated on multiple occasions that he wants to focus on boxing for now. He also said that he’s had “good conversations” with PFL and Bellator, but wants to give his legs a break from mixed martial arts.

Rockhold Is Doing What He Can to Optimize His Body to Fight in Denver

Rockhold’s match with Costa was his last Octagon outing. The fought at UFC 278 in August 2022 and although he lost by unanimous decision, he put on a gritty performance worthy of “Fight of the Night” honors. The event took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, which meant Rockhold had to compete at a high elevation. Rockhold points to that as a defining reason why his cardio wasn’t up to snuff in the middleweight clash, which ultimately led to his defeat.

And since his BKFC duel with Perry is in the Mile High City, the California native told the outlet that he’s focused on optimizing his body for the altitude change.

“Not going to mess this one up,” Rockhold said. “I’m going to spend at least four, five and a half, almost five weeks out there.” Rockhold also said he has been using different techniques to prepare himself for the altitude, like using a Cyclic Variation in Altitude Conditioning (CVAC) pod.

Rockhold Doesn’t Think Perry Is ‘Ready’ for Him

Although Rockhold is a former UFC and Strikeforce champion, it’ll be Perry who is the more experienced bare-knuckle boxer on fight night. And Rockhold doesn’t think Perry understands the “danger” he’ll be facing.

“I’m confident in my abilities to put this kid away,” Rockhold said to MMA Junkie. “I don’t think he understands the danger that’s coming, and that’s the thing that works to his advantage, too. He doesn’t understand danger; he’s so f****** dumb. It makes him effective, but also I think it’s gonna leave me the opening so I can put this kid away. I’m big, and I hit hard. I don’t think you’re ready. I’m not an 80-year-old man you can knock the f*** out. You f****** piece of s***.”

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