3 possible next opponents for Alex Pereira

Here's who we think will be the next man to face UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira.
Apr 13, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Alex Pereira (red gloves) reacts after defeating Jamahal Hill
Apr 13, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Alex Pereira (red gloves) reacts after defeating Jamahal Hill / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 3

Alex Pereira capped off UFC 300 by knocking Jamahal Hill out in the first round of their light heavyweight championship main event, thus securing his first successful title defense. Pereira has dispatched some of the best middleweight and light heavyweight fighters competing today. His latest win not only solidifies him as one of the best mixed martial artists alive but gives him many possibilities going forward.

Of course, Magomed Ankalaev looms at light heavyweight. He surely has the skills to challenge Pereira's grappling like no other so far. However, Pereira is known for taking the biggest fights available, so there's a possibility he may forgo defending his light heavyweight crown in favor of moving up to heavyweight for a super fight with someone like Tom Aspinall.

Pereira's popularity and combat sports track record open an abundance of opportunities. Despite only beginning his UFC tenure in 2021, Pereira has reached a status few have in such little time with the promotion. Any fight he's booked for next will be massive in terms of a potential opponent's name value and what will be on the line.

1. Magomed Ankalaev

Ankalaev (18-1-1)(1) is likely the next light heavyweight title contender. He arguably could have won the championship in 2022 if his fight with Jan Blachowicz wasn't controversially scored a draw. Wrestling will be Ankalaev's trump card. Pereira has certainly never faced a grappler of Ankalaev's elite level.

Recent inactivity has hurt Ankalaev. His only two recent fights were a no-contest in 2023 and then a knockout victory in 2024, both against Johnny Walker. However, he holds 10 overall wins in the division and called his shot after his most recent win at UFC Vegas 84 saying in his post-fight interview, "I am ready to fight for the title...give me that fight for the title now."

Pereira has been vague concerning the possibility of defending his title against Ankalaev. Pereira hasn't rushed to declare his next opponent but remains confident his freshly minted BJJ black belt proves his grappling credentials when asked about the challenges of a potential Ankalaev matchup. He declared at the UFC 300 post-fight press conference, "Well, I think that it's a little too early to talk about opponents. I just fought. But, like you guys saw, I just earned a black belt."

Pereira has weathered heavy grappling onslaughts from men like Blachowicz. He's performed exceptionally well against some of the best MMA fighters in two divisions. Ankalaev is a different threat, and a fight between him and Pereira will surely be intriguing.