clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dricus Du Plessis admits it was ‘not smart’ to take Robert Whittaker fight at UFC 290 as ‘Reaper’ swells to -385 betting favorite

UFC fighters have been known to make “dumb decisions.”

That includes No. 6 ranked middleweight contender Dricus Du Plessis, who will risk his chance to challenge Israel Adesanya for the 185-pound strap by tangling with former division champion Robert Whittaker at the upcoming UFC 290 pay-per-view (PPV) event, recently made official for Sat., July 8, 2023 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“A lot of people are saying it’s not the smart move to be fighting Whitaker,” Du Plessis told Submission Radio. “100 percent I agree with that. I agree, it’s not the smart move. But I’m not here to be smart. Otherwise, I would’ve stayed in school and finished my studies and had to go work at a bank or wore a suit to work every day and did some corporate life. But that’s not the life I chose. I chose to be a warrior. I chose to be an entertainer. And at the end of the day, I’m a fighter, and that’s what I do. I fight. I don’t want to get that title shot based on some hype created by, I don’t even know what… some guy who has the title who’s behaving like a little child and overreacting, and now the fight is happening because of hype. I want to deserve my title shot. I don’t want to be handed a title shot. I’m gonna deserve my belt. And that’s why I wanted that Whittaker fight.”

Whittaker (24-6) is currently the -385 betting favorite.

Du Plessis (19-2) landed at No. 6 in the official middleweight rankings by stopping Derek Brunson at UFC 285 last March in “Sin City.” There was talk of having “Stillknocks” go straight into a title fight against Adesanya since Whittaker has already come up short against “The Last Stylebender” on two separate occasions, but it appears the promotion has other plans for the top of the 185-pound weight class.

Which includes an Adesanya title shot at UFC 293 in Sydney.

“I’m not even thinking about that,” Du Plessis continued. “Now, what will happen will happen. At the end of the day, my focus is on Robert Whittaker. I’m not even considering the fact that there’s a fight eight weeks or nine weeks after. It’s not a concern to me. We’ll face that bridge when we get there. I can’t be focusing or giving any percentage of my thought on something like that. My one hundred percent of my focus is fighting Robert Whitaker, winning this fight and doing it in spectacular fashion, earning that title shot. And then we’ll worry about what comes next. Right now, there’s not a single percentage of my mind that’s focusing at all on the fight after this. This is my 100% focus, and that’s the way it should be. Focus on the task at hand, and this will be the next step.”

To see who else is fighting at UFC 290 on July 8 in Las Vegas click here.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania