Michel Pereira spoke about sparring with Francis Ngannou

Michel Pereira won’t get to fight at UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro like he had hoped, but he did receive an intriguing matchup as a consolation prize.

Pereira, who has won five straight in UFC competition and recently entered the promotion’s welterweight rankings, will face Sean Brady at UFC on ESPN 43 in San Antonio, Texas, on March 25.

“I thought that my hard time finding opponents was due to the fact that I was out of the rankings, but that was a huge mistake,” Pereira told Sherdog.com in a video interview. [UFC matchmaker Sean] Shelby did everything he could to find me someone to face at UFC Rio, but nobody wanted to fight me. I was really mad until the UFC came with the name of Sean Brady, and it looks like we will fight on March 25.”

Currently on vacation at a Brazilian friend’s home in Kansas, Pereira said that he doesn’t yet have much information on his opponent.

“All I know is that he is a wrestler. I saw his fight with Belal [Muhammad], but I don’t know much about him,” Pereira said. “I took a week off to visit my friend here in freezing Kanas. By the way, I’ve never been to a colder place in my whole life. I’ll start my camp 100% after New Year’s Eve.”

Michel Pereira also revealed that he will hold his upcoming camp at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.

“I always said that I don’t like to train with big teams, but those guys changed my opinion,” he said.

In addition to having great training partners, Pereira was very complimentary of the coaches on his new team.

“Everybody is always focused on helping each other. It’s been a great experience for me,” he said.

Michel Pereira shared a humorous-but-harrowing experience that occurred during one of his first sparring sessions at Xtreme Couture.

“In one of the first sparrings I did there, the coach told everybody to pair up. Since I was just arriving and didn’t know anybody, everybody was already paired up,” Michel Pereira said. “I looked on both sides and there was only one partner left: Francis Ngannou. Oh my God. It looked like I was grappling with a refrigerator. The guy threw me to one side and another like I was a toy. I got a stiff neck for one week.”

Michel Pereira has also trained extensively with UFC middleweight Sean Strickland as well as numerous Russian fighters at the gym. The latter has proven to be a challenging yet valuable experience.

“Those Russians are like ticks,” he said. “When they grab you, it’s impossible to release, but they are helping me a lot to improve my wrestling defense. One guy I love to train with is Strickland. Our striking training is nuts. He is such a nice guy.”

Michel Pereira also weighed in on Khamzat Chimaev’s claim that he is struggling to find an opponent for his next UFC appearance.

“This guy just wants easy fights,” Pereira said. “He knows [Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker] are problems for him. That’s why he didn’t want to face them. But I already said that I would love to face him, Colby [Covington], [Nate] Diaz or [Jorge] Masvidal. By the way, I hope that after I beat Brady and get a place above Masvidal in the rankings, he finally agrees to face me. After all, we have some personal unfinished business to solve.”

Michel Pereira is currently riding a five-fight win streak, holding wins over names such as Khaos Williams, Andre Fialho and Santiago Ponzinibbio.

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