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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Farah Hannoun

Henry Cejudo: UFC champ Dricus Du Plessis should tell Israel Adesanya to ‘take a hike’

Henry Cejudo advises Dricus Du Plessis to go after Alex Pereira, not Israel Adesanya.

During the UFC 297 pre-fight news conference, Du Plessis (21-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC) expressed interest in eventually moving up to light heavyweight to face champion Pereira (9-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC) if he were to beat Sean Strickland and win the middleweight title.

Du Plessis dethroned Strickland to claim the belt in this past Saturday’s headliner but turned his attention to former champ Adesanya (24-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC). Cejudo thinks that was a mistake and that Du Plessis should try and lure Pereira back down to middleweight.

“I say you make Israel Adesanya take a hike,” Cejudo said 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. 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.

“But that being said, him coming down to 185 pounds once again, and if you get a victory over a 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.”

Cejudo pointed to himself as an example when he was in pursuit of dual-champ status, which he successfully achieved.

“If he’s talking about going back down one more time at 185 pounds, you welcome him,” Cejudo said. “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 what happened to me the first time when I beat Demetrious Johnson. Demetrious Johnson didn’t want to fight T.J. Dillashaw. You know what I did? I stole that storyline.”

Despite Pereira’s size, Cejudo doesn’t count out Du Plessis’ chances against him.

“If I’m in your position right now, you know what I do to Israel Adesanya, take a hike,” Cejudo said. “Wait for me until 2027 like you said you wanted to retire. Bring out Alex Pereira. 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 going to overwhelm him unless you allow him to kick you, which I don’t think you will. Plus, you have kicks of your own too out of southpaw.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 297.

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