Dustin Jacoby: Huge Alex Pereira Fan, Agrees with Anthony Smith

Dustin Jacoby and Anthony Smith are both impressed by Alex Pereira‘s rapid success in the UFC despite his limited skill set, particularly in grappling, with Jacoby acknowledging Pereira’s striking prowess while agreeing with Smith that many fighters could potentially defeat him with the right strategy.

Dustin Jacoby probably knows Alex Pereira better than most. They shared the ring in GLORY Kickboxing before Pereira’s meteoric rise in the UFC.

Jacoby marvels at Pereira’s rapid ascent. Despite only having 12 fights, Pereira has claimed titles in two divisions. It’s almost unbelievable.

Anthony Smith, a veteran light heavyweight contender and UFC analyst, echoes this sentiment. He’s impressed by Pereira’s accolades, even though he sees him as a one-dimensional fighter.

“I stand by everything I’ve said,” Smith told MMA Fighting back in April. “[Daniel Cormier] says it all the time, how is this guy still winning fights? Yeah, I ask the same thing. Because it doesn’t make any sense! He has a very limited skill set. He’s very, very, very dangerous at one thing and he’s mediocre at the rest. … I’m not talking shit about it. It’s impressive.”

Jacoby agrees with Smith. He’s stunned by Pereira’s ability to steamroll his competition. His knockout win over Jamahal Hill at UFC 300 was particularly shocking.

“It’s incredible,” Jacoby told MMA Fighting. “I’m a huge Alex Pereira fan, but there are so many guys at the 185-pound division — because he came into the UFC at 185 — and at 205 [pounds] who I think can beat him, just in the MMA rule set. But he keeps proving us wrong, he keeps knocking everybody out. I am blown away.”

Jacoby acknowledges Pereira’s striking prowess. “One of the best strikers, if not the best striker on the planet today. His left hook is unreal. His striking, his timing, so much power. But you can’t tell me there’s not a guy out there like [Khamzat] Chimaev — like, I feel like Chimaev would just go in there and grab him and throw him down.”

Despite Pereira taking offense to Smith’s criticism, Jacoby insists there’s no malicious intent. It’s just an honest assessment.

Jacoby won’t hide the fact that Pereira relies heavily on one dominant weapon. He’s still evolving other parts of his MMA game.

“It’s remarkable what he’s been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time,” Jacoby said. “I’m a huge Pereira fan, but I believe there are several guys on the roster at any weight class that could beat him with the right strategy and on the right night.”

Smith has expressed interest in competing against Pereira. The conversation often drifts to grappling, seen as a weakness for Pereira.

Whether they’ll face off is uncertain. But Jacoby believes Pereira would struggle if the fight went to the ground with Smith.

“It’s insane,” Jacoby said. “I don’t understand it. Because a guy like Anthony, people don’t understand how good his jiu-jitsu is. Training with that guy in jiu-jitsu absolutely sucks. It makes you feel like you’re rolling around in a wet blanket and you feel like you’re suffocating the whole time.”

“Could Pereira knock out Anthony? Abso-f*cking-lutely, I think he can knock out anybody. But Anthony’s also a guy, if he just went in there and shot and just worked to get it down to the ground and getting it into his world, I could totally see Anthony winning that fight.”

With or without world-class grappling, Pereira continues to dominate the UFC. Jacoby knows this deserves recognition.

But that doesn’t mean Smith is wrong. “Kudos to him, but Anthony’s right,” Jacoby said. “It’s not that I think he’s dogging him. I think it’s more of a respect [thing], kudos to him.”


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