Henry Cejudo doesn’t want to see Dricus Du Plessis vs. Israel Adesanya just yet.
After dethroning Sean Strickland at UFC 297, the new middleweight champion has a few enticing options for his first title defense. A rematch with Strickland, a grudge match with Adesanya or a wildcard fight with Khamzat Chimaev could all await Du Plessis in his return to the Octagon.
Move Over Adesanya, Make Some Room For Alex Pereira
With legacy in mind, former two-division champ Cejudo thinks he has a better idea.
“I say you make Israel Adesanya take a break, take a hike,” Cejudo said, when discussing Du Plessis’ next fight on his YouTube channel. “I say you make Israel Adesanya maybe fight somebody before he actually fights you and actually take the fight that really matters more for your accolades and his name is Alex Pereira.”
Cejudo Explains Just Why Du Plessis Should Fight Pereira
The reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champion did express interest in fighting Du Plessis after seeing friend Strickland fall short to him in Canada. The only problem for Pereira would be the weight cut down to 185lbs, which he hasn’t done since last April.
Fighting Pereira at this stage of his career might be a high risk for Du Plessis, but it’s not without a high reward, according to Cejudo.
“Alex Pereira is a really big middleweight that the fact that he went up to light heavyweight and still looks bigger than all those dudes as well,” Cejudo continued. “But that being said, him coming down to 185 pounds once again, and if you get a victory over guy like Alex Pereira, you know what that guarantees you? That guarantees you a title shot at 205 pounds.
“Why do I say that? Why do I say pick Alex Pereira? You know why? Because Israel Adesanya will always be there. Alex Pereira, who knows man, he goes up against [Magomed] Ankalaev. I’m not sure if he could beat Ankalaev. I’m not sure if you go up and you fight a guy who’s well-rounded like Ankalaev that you could get a victory over a guy like that.”
“I say you skip Israel Adesanya. I say for that reason, you go with Alex Pereira, let him come down. If he’s talking about going back down one more time at 185 pounds, you welcome him. You welcome him because once you get that victory, you know what that does to you? That allows you to go up and challenge the guy at 205 pounds. That’s happened to me the first time when I beat Demetrius Johnson. Demetrius Johnson didn’t wanna fight TJ Dillashaw. You know what I did? I stole that storyline.”
‘If I’m In Your Position Right Now…’
After becoming flyweight champion, Cejudo defended his title against then-champ TJ Dillashaw who was coming up from bantamweight. One 32-second knockout later, the champ picked up Dillashaw’s vacant title at 135lbs with a KO of Marlon Moraes.
Cejudo thinks Du Plessis can follow his blueprint, should he choose Alex Pereira.
“If I’m in your position right now, you know what I do to Israel Adesanya, take a hike. Wait for me until 2027 like you said you wanted to retire. Bring out Alex Pereira,” Cejudo added. “Allow me to beat up the face of the UFC and it guarantees you Dricus Du Plessis another title shot at 205 pounds. Your wrestling is probably gonna overwhelm him unless you allow him to kick you, which I don’t think you will. Plus, you have kicks of your own out from southpaw.
So that being said, there’s two guys. Alex Pereira, Israel Adesanya. [Adesanya] could wait, this guy will always be there. This guy right here, Alex Pereira is not only gonna be an easier fight because he cut all this crazy weight, but it guarantees you a title shot.”