Manager explains why Alex Pereira won’t fight at UFC 301, discusses potential fight with Tom Aspinall

UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira fractured a toe two weeks before his UFC 300 main event clash with Jamahal Hill and still won via first-round knockout, breaking another toe during the match. “Poatan” still doubled down on the idea of turning around and fighting 21 days later as a heavyweight at UFC 301, but his manager Jorge Guimarães wants to slow down those talks.

Guimarães said on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast that Pereira was concerned about the injury going into UFC 300, but urged him not to inform the promotion, because “I want to fight no matter how” at UFC 300. With his first successful title defense now in the books, Pereira needs to relax and heal before booking his next assignment.

“That won’t happen, no way, especially now that he has another broken toe,” Guimarães said of Pereira fighting on May 4 in Rio de Janeiro. “He has to go to the shipyard and let the dust settle and celebrate the victory. Maybe [go to Brazil] to watch the event, but no fights for him.”

UFC interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall was cageside at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday and later posted a picture on his social media watching Pereira prepare to enter the octagon, and Guimarães joked that Pereira’s performance “made Aspinall’s hair stand on end.” That said, discussing a champion vs. champion clash in Manchester, likely in July, would be “premature.”

“I don’t think [fighting Pereira] is a good idea for Aspinall at this moment,” Guimarães said. “We have to see what’s going to happen. I think it’s still too premature. Aspinall is the interim champion, why would he risk fighting ‘Poatan’? I don’t think it makes much sense [for Aspinall], I don’t think it’s a good idea [for Aspinall]. For us, it is [a good idea].”

Guimarães said the plan right now is for Pereira to defend his light heavyweight title next, but is open to the idea of moving up to heavyweight if the UFC makes the right offer.

“He has the desire, and I’ll tell you this, he’s going to do an incredible job at heavyweight,” Guimarães said. “He’s a super tough fight for anyone in the heavyweight division as well. He’s hungry to fight. He says his time is running out, and he wants to achieve the most he can. He’s extremely confident, and I think he would shine at heavyweight. Let’s see what the UFC has on the table for us, but he won’t be fighting in Rio de Janeiro.”

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