Sean Strickland takes sly dig at the fitness of Alex Pereira's coach: "We need to get you back"

Sean Strickland (left) jokes about the fitness of Alex Pereira's (far right) coach, Plinio Cruz (center right) [Image Courtesy: @UFC_CA via X/Twitter and @pliniocruzmma via X/Twitter]

Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira have a friendly relationship, having even trained together in the past. Thus, 'Tarzan' is comfortable poking fun at those in the Brazilian's camp, including the UFC light heavyweight king's coach and manager, Plinio Cruz, who shared a recent Instagram clip of his fighting days.

For those unaware, Cruz is a former mixed martial artist, having competed at heavyweight and super heavyweight, racking up 8 wins and 9 losses, before calling it quits in 2019. The clip posted on Instagram was of his first-ever heavyweight fight, which was against JA Dudley.

Check out Plinion Cruz's heavyweight MMA debut:

Cruz defeated Dudley via first-round armbar. What is noticeable in the clip is that, despite fighting at heavyweight at the time, Pereira's coach sported a noticeably slimmer physique, which drew Strickland's attention. The former UFC middleweight champion popped up in the comment section to express his astonishment.

He wrote:

"My man we need to get you back on that fight diet"
A screenshot of Sean Strickland's comment
A screenshot of Sean Strickland's comment

Cruz's fighting days, however, are behind him. He now spends his time guiding Pereira to victory, and his services will be needed come UFC 303 next weekend, as 'Poatan' defends his light heavyweight strap in a rematch with former 205-pound champion Jiří Procházka.

Pereira won their previous bout via second-round TKO, but not without controversy, as some argued that the stoppage was early. Now, 'Poatan' will look to silence any remaining doubters come fight night.

Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira have fought before

While both men are now in different divisions and have trained with each other, there was a time when they clashed inside the octagon. Back in 2022, Alex Pereira, still a middleweight, took on Sean Strickland in a title eliminator at UFC 276. The bout did not last long.

Pereira was quick to condition Strickland, who likes parrying strikes, to drop his hands low by blasting him in the gut with body jabs. Once the threat of the body jab was seared into Strickland's mind, Pereira faked a level change, as if to tease another body jab. However, he had something else in store for Strickland.

When Strickland dropped his hands low in anticipation of the jab, 'Poatan' sprung high with a lead left hook over the top, cracking his exposed chin. Strickland was knocked down, but stumbled back to his feet, only to get dropped by a follow-up right hand, which forced the referee to call a halt to the bout.

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Edited by Krishna Venki
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