Dricus Du Plessis wants his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight title shot.
South Africa’s finest punched his ticket (literally) to a surefire shot at UFC gold at UFC 290 in July 2023. Tasked with former champion, Robert Whittaker, Du Plessis shined, putting away “The Reaper” with strikes in round two (watch highlights).
Unfortunately for “Stillknocks,” he went into the bout with a foot injury and was unable to make the turnaround to face now-former champion, Israel Adesanya, at UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia, this past weekend (Sept. 9, 2023). That honor instead went to America’s Sean Strickland, who pulled off the big upset victory via unanimous decision (watch highlights). Therefore, prompting UFC President, Dana White, to reiterate at the event’s post-fight press conference how fighters should never turn down fights, especially for world titles.
“I’ve been ready to address every situation of what might happen this weekend, and what the UFC might say, what Dana might say — obviously, him not being very happy that I turned down a fight on seven weeks’ notice with an injury, which I don’t really understand,” Du Plessis told FightWave (h/t MMA Junkie).
“But, at the end of the day, it’s business for them and you have got to respect that,” he continued. “But if I can look at my track record, I know for a fact that I’m not somebody that turns down fights if it’s not a good enough reason. I’ve taken fights on short notice multiple times. Every time they phone, I say, ‘Yes, let’s go.’ This time around just wasn’t possible with the injury and short notice.”
Currently riding an eight-fight win streak (six in UFC), Du Plessis (20-2) has been bumped to the No. 2-ranked contender in the official UFC rankings after Adesanya’s fall. As much as Du Plessis was hoping to dethrone “The Last Stylebender” after their burgeoning rivalry, seeing Strickland do it for him was still satisfying.
“I’m happy for Sean Strickland. I’m happy that ‘Izzy’ got a little bit of a beating, although I would have loved to be the guy to give it to him,” Du Plessis said. “There’s Sean Strickland — just goes to show, I feel he was in a very similar situation to me and Robert Whittaker where nobody gave me a shot. Nobody gave me a chance. I know Strickland didn’t even give me a chance, and I didn’t give him a chance in this fight.”
For complete UFC 293 results, coverage and highlights click HERE.