The dust has barely settled on UFC 297, but Dricus Du Plessis' split decision victory over Sean Strickland continues to amaze all UFC middleweight fans. The judges saw the fight differently, but the most important thing is that Dricus is the new champion.
The whispers have already begun as to who will be first in line to challenge his crown. Of course, Israel Adesanya remains the obvious candidate, but a new player has entered the game: Alex Pereira. Cejudo, the ever-outspoken former two-division champion himself, throws an intriguing wrench into the mix.
He argues that Dricus should bypass Adesanya entirely and focus on Pereira. A win over the current welterweight mainstay would solidify Du Plessis' dominance in the middleweight division and open the door for a potential shot at 205 pounds.
“I think you should tell Adesanya to take a walk. I say he should make Adesanya fight someone else before his title shot, and he should accept a match against someone who is a better name for him. This is Alex Pereira.
Alex is a really big middleweight, and the fact is that he went to light heavyweight and he looks bigger than most guys there too,'' Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. "If Pereira comes to high school one more time, and if you beat a character like him, do you know what that brings you? It brings you a sure shot at the light heavyweight title.
Why choose Pereira? Adesanya will always be there and Pereira, who knows?'' But Pereira's future aspirations remain shrouded in ambiguity. His cryptic "last rodeo" comments fueled speculation about a potential departure from the middleweight division.
However, with Ankalaev likely waiting at light heavyweight, Pereira's next move is anyone's guess. Whether he faces the aggressive striking of Adesanya or the imposing power of Pereira, his first title defense will certainly not be easy.
However, he already convinced us once and became the new middleweight king, so even if he wins the next opponent and defends his belt, don't be surprised again.