Here are the things we can take away from the UFC 287 press conference, featuring Alex Pereira, Israel Adesanya, Gilbert Burns, Jorge Masvidal and more.
With just about 48 hours to go before the UFC action gets underway at the Kaseya Arena, the participants in the main and co-main event of the card addressed the media and fight fans one last time.
The UFC 287 pre-fight press conference took place on April 6, featuring UFC President Dana White, as well as middleweight champion Alex Pereira and former champion Israel Adesanya — the two men who will compete in the championship main event. The press conference also featured Gilbert Burns and Miami's own Jorge Masvidal, who will compete in the co-main event.
The press conference also featured the participants of the other UFC 287 main card bouts: Rob Font, Adrian Yanez, Kevin Holland, Santiago Ponzinibbio, Raul Rosas Jr. and Christian Rodriguez.
Here is what we learned.
UFC 287: 3 things we learned from the pre-fight press conference
1. Alex Pereira not taking 3-0 record vs. Israel Adesanya for granted
This will be just the second time that Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya clash in the cage, but it'll be the fourth time they fight overall. The two met in kickboxing in 2016 and 2017, with the second time seeing Adesanya stretchered out of the ring. Adesanya was ahead on the scorecards in their middleweight title fight at UFC 281 until Pereira pulled off the comeback knockout in the fifth round.
The question coming into this fight is if Adesanya can finally triumph against his boogeyman, and going for the clean sweep once and for all might see Pereira come into this bout with a strong sense of confidence.
That wasn't on display in the press conference, however, as Pereira says he's not taking any of those previous fights into account in this one.
"I'm not thinking about those three fights," Pereira said through a translator. "He's a former champion, a great champion, a very dangerous fighter. If I keep those three fights in my head, I'm not going to do things the way I trained for this one. I'm prepared for this new fight."
It may be for the best, too, as Adesanya seems focused on not just getting the belt back, but getting revenge and extending his legacy in the Octagon.
"His recovery and fighting spirit is something that he surprised me with," Adesanya said. "But Saturday night I’m gonna show him my fighting spirit.
"F*** the belt. I'm coming for his head."
2. Dana White suggests not much flexibility from Colby Covington getting title shot — regardless of what Gilbert Burns or Jorge Masvidal might do
After Leon Edwards retained the UFC welterweight title against Kamaru Usman at UFC 286 last month, Dana White proclaimed that Colby Covington was the No. 1 contender. This earned some criticism from fight fans, pundits and even Edwards himself. But White seemed set on those plans, especially after Covington successfully weighed in as the backup fighter for Edwards-Usman 3.
Of course, that news might also not sit well with Burns and Masvidal. Burns is currently ranked No. 5 and is looking to get to his second crack at welterweight gold, while Masvidal may be in a win-or-go-home situation in his hometown.
When asked about if Burns or Masvidal's performance on Saturday night could cause a shift in those plans, White seemed reluctant to move away from Covington, which earned mass boos from the crowd, as well as some jeering from Masvidal (who asked White when the last time Covington finished someone was).
White did say, however, that the Burns-Masvidal winner may be in line for the Edwards-Covington winner.
"Listen, Colby Covington, like him or not, the guy showed up in London. He cut weight, he did what he was supposed to do. He deserves the fight against Leon; there's no doubt," White said. "We'll see how this fight turns out on Saturday, and the best-case scenario is one of these guys are next."
3. The shooting down of hotel incident with Jorge Masvidal and Kevin Holland
Perhaps most notable from the UFC 287 press conference was not any response that came based around fight-related questions. It more so came from a lot of shooting certain questions down by White.
Firstly, White didn't have much to comment when asked about this week's news of the merger between Endeavor (the UFC's parent company) and WWE. And when The Schmo asked Kevin Holland about who he'd want to hit with a steel chair, Holland refused to answer, stating he didn't want to get in trouble.
Related to that was a news item from earlier this week in which Holland and Masvidal seemed to get in a scuffle at the fighters' hotel. When Masvidal was asked about the incident, he said it was a nothing situation and referred to Holland as a "clout chaser."
And before Holland could get a chance to answer for the run-in, White put a stop to it.
"These two aren't even fighting; knock it off," White said. "Do you have a question about the fight or do you just want to start s*** in here?"