‘That’s what makes Israel special’: Henry Cejudo lauds Adesanya ahead of UFC 293

Henry Cejudo shared some rare praise toward UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

Adesanya (24-2 MMA, 13-2 UFC) defends his middleweight title against Sean Strickland (27-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 293 headliner at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews/ESPN+ and early prelims on ESPN+.

Cejudo has been rather critical of Adesanya in the past, picking against him in fights and even offering to train his past opponents. But ahead of UFC 293, Cejudo credits Adesanya for his ability to shine under pressure.

“There is one thing that Israel does have now, and it’s championship experience,” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. “What I would put at No. 1 is just world championship experience. When you get accustomed to training for five rounds, when you get accustomed to the lights, the cameras, everything that comes with you being the absolute best in the world.

“A lot of people, when the lights are actually bright, they don’t actually show up. I will tell you somebody who will always show up: It’s this man (Adesanya) right here. He comes to fight, and he comes to win. All that is because of all those five-round fights that he’s had, and obviously taking losses and coming back and actually winning. That’s what makes Israel special.”

Cejudo thinks big underdog Strickland needs to go for broke if he wants to beat Adesanya. He thinks Adesanya’s ability to set traps, feints and fakes could be a problem for Strickland – especially when he uses his leg kicks. Cejudo predicts that Adesanya will chew Strickland’s legs up, then knock him out.

“The biggest weapons that he does have are his kicks,” Cejudo said. “So whether you’re southpaw or right-handed, he’s going to find a way to break your foundation and actually reach those legs. He does a really good job of – even if you are a southpaw, like he will go with that lead leg to eventually kick you.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 293.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie