Pereira, now a two-division champion in both GLORY Kickboxing and the UFC, said on an episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast prior to UFC 295 that it was “too early to think about” the possibility of going up to heavyweight in the future. With a second UFC title now secured, however, Teixeira thinks it’s doable.
“It’s all a process,” Teixeira said on Trocação Franca. “‘Poatan’ is a disciplined professional, and that’s why he managed to make 185 in the first place. It’s not easy for anyone to do what he did. Few people can manage that.
“I’m not saying few people can fight in the UFC, much less win the belt, but to do what he did, losing that much weight, not many can do. In the UFC, I’d say only 10 percent of the fighters can do that weight cut the way he did. It was very brutal, but ‘Poatan’ has the discipline for it.”
Pereira won three straight bouts in the UFC before stopping Israel Adesanya to claim the UFC middleweight title in his eighth professional MMA fight in 2022. “Poatan” decided to move up a division after losing the rematch to Adesanya earlier this year, then scored back-to-back victories over Jan Blachowicz and Prochazka to end 2023 with another UFC belt at just 9-2 overall in the sport.
The UFC heavyweight division currently has two champions, Jon Jones and interim titleholder Tom Aspinall. Teixeira said “Poatan” would be strong as a horse at heavyweight, but wouldn’t advise Pereira to add much weight like Jones has.
“If he were to move up, he would change his diet and training routine outside the camp to gain mass,” Teixeira said. “‘Poatan’ walks around 233 pounds and I think he can go to 246, but not [over that], you know? I think 242 would be good.”
The UFC has yet to announce who will get the first shot at Pereira for the UFC light heavyweight title in 2024.