Joshua urges UFC’s Pereira to switch to boxing

Anthony Joshua has urged two-weight UFC champion Alex Pereira to switch to boxing.

The Brazilian retained his light-heavyweight title in fine style against Jiri Prochazka last month, adding another knockout to his impressive resume.

Joshua, a two-time heavyweight champion, sent Pereira a message on social media, saying: “Alex Pereira should make a boxing debut one day.”

Pereira has quickly become of the UFC’s biggest stars, winning world titles in two divisions since making his octagon debut in 2021.

“I’m honoured you think so,” Pereira said in response to Joshua. “It’s always been my dream – [but] I’m 37, I cannot make a career in it, so who do you recommend I fight?”

Joshua replied by saying the “options are endless”, urging Pereira to get in touch with his management company about transitioning to boxing.

Pereira headlined UFC 300 earlier this year and stepped in at two weeks’ notice to replace Conor McGregor as the main event for UFC 303.

He would not be the first mixed martial arts star to try boxing in recent times, with former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou taking on Tyson Fury and Joshua in a boxing ring.

Ngannou, 37, gave a good account of himself in his pro boxing debut against Fury – going 10 rounds with the then unbeaten heavyweight – but was knocked out in two rounds by Joshua in March.

Pereira transitioned from kickboxing to MMA and has teased a move up to heavyweight after winning titles at light-heavyweight and middleweight.

Ngannou repeatedly stated boxing offered much bigger fight purses than the UFC, which he left to pursue a career in boxing.