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Pereira fought Adesanya with torn ligaments in finger

Jamie Squire / Getty Images Sport / Getty

UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira fought Israel Adesanya with torn ligaments in his right middle finger, Pereira told ESPN Brazil's Gustavo Faldon.

Pereira defeated Adesanya in the fifth round via TKO to win the middleweight belt at UFC 281 on Nov. 12.

The injury occurred two months ago, which slowed down his training camp, according to Pereira, who added he was unable to grapple for two-to-three weeks.

"I didn't train very well for this fight," Pereira said. "I could have been better. But I won. I became champion. A lot of people talk nonsense and don't know what was going on. I (tore) the ligaments. I think I can come back better for this next fight."

The middleweight champion is planning to return to the Octagon sometime next year between April and July, Pereira told Faldon.

Pereira has defeated Adesanya three times. They fought twice in kickboxing in addition to their UFC 281 bout. Pereira is the only person to ever KO Adesanya in a professional fight.

"He was the champion. If he really wants that, he deserves this rematch," Pereira said about Adesanya. "It was a good fight. He hit me; he believes he can beat me. It doesn't matter to me."

Pereira posted on Instagram last Friday that he will give Adesanya a rematch.

"You were a great opponent, and I respect you for that," Pereira said. "(Accept) the mistakes along with your team without taking away my merits. You will have one more chance! You're next!"

The 35-year-old Pereira is 7-1 in his MMA career with six KO/TKO finishes.

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