UFC 290 appeared to have sorted out the immediate Middleweight title picture, seeing Dricus Du Plessis pull off a massive second round technical knockout (punches) win against former champion, Robert Whittaker (watch highlights). The victory extended the 20-2 Du Plessis’ win streak to eight (six in UFC) and led to an ugly in-Octagon showdown with the champion, Adesanya (watch it).
The expectation was for the pair to get booked as the UFC 293 headliner in Sydney, Australia, on Sept. 9, 2023. However, Adesanya has since claimed that Du Plessis may be dealing with a foot injury, preventing him from taking his promised title shot.
“Now he doesn’t wanna fight,” Adesanya said on The Halfcast Podcast (h/t MMA News). “Even after [UFC 290], he’s like, ‘Oh, bro, all you had to do was put some gloves on, we could have got it on right there.’ B—chass f—k. You wouldn’t have. ‘Cause guess what? He didn’t want it … People were like, ‘Oh, he’s so classy walking away. He’s so [classy].’ I’m like, ‘Bro, he didn’t even walk away. He felt me.’ He didn’t wanna feel me.
“He’s not a scared man, he’s a tough dude,” he continued. “He’s very crafty, and he’s got a good team behind him. Smart team. I don’t think he’s a scared man, but I’ll tell you he’s scared of me. You know when you look in someone’s eyes, you just know straight away. He didn’t call me to the cage, I stepped in the cage myself. I didn’t even see him call me. I stepped into the cage because I made this s—t happen. This motherf—ker — I hope, I really was hoping he’d f—king step up. But he’s a b—ch, and I’ll tell you right now. Keep training. Keep training. I’ve got something for your ass, so keep training.”
Adesanya recaptured his Middleweight crown in April 2023, scoring a huge second round knockout (punches) against his long-time rival, Alex Pereira (watch highlights). With Pereira departing the division for Light Heavyweight, it quickly opened the door to a new rivalry for Adesanya. Sean Strickland was revealed as a possibility to take Du Plessis’ place at UFC 293, but no new rumblings have developed.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 293 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPNN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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