‘I Want To Fight The Best Guys’

Dricus Du Plessis knows who he wants to defend his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight title against first.

Everything had aligned about as nicely as UFC could have asked for in the summer of 2023. Du Plessis pulled off a big second round technical knockout upset win over the former champion, Robert Whittaker, at UFC 290 in July 2023 (watch highlights). Therefore, he had become the clear No. 1 contender to face the then-champion, Israel Adesanya, a matter of months later at UFC 293 in September 2023.

Unfortunately for Du Plessis and Adesanya, the South African would-be challenger wasn’t healthy enough to make the turnaround after battling a foot injury against Whittaker. Adesanya instead fought Sean Strickland, which resulted in a unanimous decision loss for “The Last Stylebender” (watch highlights). Strickland went on to fall to Du Plessis via a split decision (watch highlights) this past January 2023, and now “StillKnocks” wants to book the original fight the world expected.

“So you claim you want to drag my carcass around in South Africa, as you (Adesanya) said,” Du Plessis told The Hustlers Corner (h/t MMA Fighting). “So be a man of your word, and let’s do it.”

The match up between Du Plessis and Adesanya was originally linked to UFC 300 next month (Sat., April 13, 2024). The main event slot is now occupied with the Light Heavyweight title tilt, featuring the champion, Alex Pereira, and former titlist, Jamahal Hill.

Strickland has been vocal recently about his desire for an instant rematch with Du Plessis. However, talks continue to go the route Du Plessis wants them to, beyond “Tarzan.”

“We are trying,” Du Plessis said of the title matchup. “We are talking, definitely. That’s what the people want to see, and that’s what I want to do. I want to fight the best guys. This is an entertaining sport.

“Who do I wanna fight? I don’t care, I’m the champion,” he continued. “I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me. But what I want in my heart is to fight the guy that the people want to see me fight.”

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