Israel Adesanya has his next target firmly locked in his sights.
Ahead of Dricus du Plessis’ last fight against Derek Brunson at UFC 285 last month, the South African caused a stir with his comments on African champions. du Plessis questioned if any UFC belt had ever been to Africa before describing what an African champion will look like when he wins the Middleweight title.
The comments weren’t taken too kindly by former UFC Welterweight roost-ruler, Kamaru Usman, and got under the skin of current Middleweight kingpin, Adesanya, even more (both fighters were born in Nigeria). Unfortunately for Adesanya, he will now have to wait and hope du Plessis gets past Robert Whittaker at UFC 290 this summer (Sat., July 8, 2023) before getting his hands on “Stillknocks.”
“I tried to do [the fight] in South Africa, but apparently it might not work,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel (h/t MMA Fighting). “But again, I told [UFC President] Dana [White], ‘You guys beat COVID before any other big sporting league got on the field or on the court, you guys did that. You can do anything.’ I still believe they can. I want to do it in South Africa or somewhere in Africa. [du Plessis] thinks they’re going to have his back. It’s only the product of him that’s going to have his back. He doesn’t understand who I am.
Israel Adesanya unleashes some more on Dricus Du Plessis pic.twitter.com/VjdGcFmM8P— MMA Mania (@mmamania) April 27, 2023
“Like I said, he’s created division. I don’t like that. He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t have to do that. You don’t understand, I’m here now. I’m going to f—k this guy up. I’m going to torture this guy.
“You don’t have to create division,” he continued. “This is not the time for that s—t. You could have definitely got the fight without talking all that s—t. Well, be careful what you wish for. You got what you want. He’s next. I’m going to f—king beat him until he’s black.”
du Plessis, 29, has been perfect since entering the Octagon in Oct. 2020. Sitting comfortably at No. 6 in UFC’s Middleweight rankings, du Plessis (19-2) rides a seven-fight winning streak (five in UFC) and has finished every bout on the stretch outside of his July 2022 unanimous decision win over Brad Tavares.
Meanwhile, Adesanya recently reclaimed his throne atop the division, defeating Alex Pereira with a second round knockout (watch highlights) at UFC 287 earlier this month. “The Last Stylebender” revealed when speaking about du Plessis that one week before the fight he suffered a Grade 1 Medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear. Therefore, some time for Adesanya to heal up may have played a part in why du Plessis’ title hopes will require one more win at most.
“I’m going to f—king take him to school, in the Octagon, and on history,” Adesanya said. “What he’s doing is creating divide. You can’t know your history — I have never questioned him as an African, because yeah, you were born in Africa. South Africa. Of course, you’re an African. I have never questioned that. But who the f—k is this cracker to tell me who the f—k I am? Who the f—k Kamaru is, who the f—k [Francis] Ngannou is? I’m like, are you dumb? As a product of colonization, you’re trying to tell me who the f—k I am. You can take the boy out of Africa, but you can never take the Africa out of the boy.
“I never ever did that to him,” he continued. “I never discredited him as an African. Okay, there you are. Cool. You want to make a fight? Cool. But the fact that as a f—king cracker, to tell me who the f—k I am, that pissed me off, and that’s why he’s my next fight. I don’t want to fight anyone else. This one pisses me off.”