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Dricus du Plessis fires back at Israel Adesanya, clarifies African champion comments: ‘I don’t take kindly to threats’

Dricus du Plessis has caught the attention of Israel Adesanya.

Adesanya recaptured Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight gold this past weekend (April 8, 2023) at UFC 287, defeating his rival, Alex Pereira, via a second-round knockout (watch highlights). “The Last Stylebender” feels he’s closed the Pereira chapter of his career and is ready to move on to what’s next.

To end his UFC 287 post-fight press conference, Adesanya made clear mention of du Plessis without saying his name, stating that he’ll “gladly drag his carcass across South Africa” in a potential fight. Unsurprisingly, the comments didn’t sit too well with the No. 6-ranked Middleweight contender, “Stillknocks.”

“For him saying that, does he think I’m scared of him?” du Plessis told The MMA Hour. “I am not scared of that man. The fact that he put some threats out there, obviously he’s forgotten because I don’t take kindly to threats. Over here, it doesn’t work like that. If you want to make threats, come and show me. Come and show me how you drag my carcass around. I would love to see you try.

“And like I said in that message: UFC Africa is far away from being done,” he continued. “It’s probably going to happen next year. I don’t want to wait that long. I will beat him this year, and after that fight, if he still feels like he has all this power over me and he’s trying to intimidate me, that’s good. Then come to Africa next year, and we’ll fight for the belt in a rematch where I’m the champion. Because that fight’s not happening this year, and he does not scare me. Not one little bit.”

The developing beef between Adesanya and du Plessis stems from the latter’s comments ahead of his most recent victory over Derek Brunson (watch highlights) at UFC 285 last month (March 4, 2023). South Africa’s du Plessis, 29, questioned whether or not a UFC title had been to his home continent of Africa, alluding to past champions, Kamaru Usman, Francis Ngannou, and at the time, Adesanya.

Riding a seven-fight winning streak (five in UFC), du Plessis feels he’s done enough to earn the next shot at Adesanya. From there, they can settle their differences, which du Plessis clarified have nothing to do with race.

“I think people are making this an issue that is not there,” du Plessis said. “This is, purely, two guys fighting. This is me vs. Israel Adesanya. For me, there is no, ‘I’m more African, you’re more African.’ I reside in Africa. He doesn’t. That is a fact. That is not my opinion. That is a fact. He’s African, his heritage is African, of course. But that does not change the fact that I want to be and will be the first African-residing champion.”

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