Dricus Du Plessis is set to fight Robert Whittaker at UFC 290, which will take place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 8, 2023. It’s an extremely important bout for the South African fighter: if he wins, he’ll probably earn the next title shot against Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya.
Adesanya has made it clear he hopes Du Plessis wins ... not because he looks forward to the challenge of fighting “Stillknocks,” but because he wants to kick his ass over comments Du Plessis has made about being “more African” than the Nigerian-born “Stylebender.”
In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Du Plessis once again tried to specify what he is (and isn’t) saying when he discusses the Africa thing.
“I’ve never said the words ‘more African’ in my life,” Du Plessis claimed. “I didn’t say they were not African. I didn’t say they were not African. I stated facts. I am the only one in title contention ever to be born in Africa, live in Africa, reside in Africa and train there every single day.
“That was my statement,” he continued. “Some people say I’m backpedaling. I’ve never backpedaled. I’m sticking with that because that is the fact. I never said the words, ‘I’m more African.’ I never said that they were not African or that they were fake Africans. I never said that in my life. I simply stated the facts.”
Du Plessis may have never specifically said he’s “more African,” but it’s hard not to read that implication from his many statements on the subject.
“We breathe African air, we wake up in Africa every day,” he said during UFC 285 media day. “We train in Africa, we’re Africa born, we’re Africa raised, we still reside in Africa, we train out of Africa. That’s an African champion, and that’s who I’ll be.”
Even with Submission Radio, Du Plessis once again basically said he was more African than Adesanya. Once again, just facts ... don’t get it twisted!
“He’s referred to himself as a Kiwi,” Du Plessis said. “He’s referred to himself as Chinese, he’s referred to himself as Nigerian. At the end of the day, he’s born in Africa. He is African. But he does not reside here, and that is the fact. That is what makes me and him different.”
It’s clearly a touchy subject for “The Three Kings” from Africa who held UFC gold, and for many mixed martial arts (MMA) fans who are part of the African diaspora. Du Plessis may be stating a fact, but it comes with a whole history of other facts behind it that are both ugly and lengthy. It feels like he continues to repeat it because it’s gotten him closer to a title shot than most of his past wins.
Indeed, it’s gotten him the champion’s attention. Now all he needs is a win over Whittaker, which bookies have pegged as ... not very likely.
Just a fact!
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