UFC middleweight contender Dricus Du Plessis is eager to return to the Octagon after watching how UFC 293 transpired.
Sean Strickland is now the UFC’s middleweight champion after dismantling Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 in Sydney. He pulled off arguably the biggest upset in UFC history and is a first-time UFC titleholder.
Just days after Strickland’s big win, talk has already ramped up surrounding his first title defense. UFC President Dana White seems most interested in running it back with Adesanya, although nothing is formal as of this writing.
Du Plessis, after a win over Robert Whittaker at UFC 290, cemented himself as a top contender. He was slated to face Adesanya at UFC 293 before declining the quick turnaround.
Du Plessis not only plans to defeat Strickland for his next fight but is already looking ahead to his first potential title defense.
Du Plessis Prioritizes Title Fight Over Adesanya Grudge Match
During a recent interview with MiddleEasy, Du Plessis revealed his timeline for a return and when the Adesanya fight could happen.
“I’d love to fight for the belt in December,” Du Plessis said. “Let’s settle this like men, let’s settle this. We were the underdogs in the division… I have No. 1 next to my name, may the best man win…for me right now, Strickland is the target that’s how it is for me. I’m not number one contender in the world to fight Adesanya. I’m number one contender in the world to fight Sean Strickland. Number one contender in the world to fight for the belt. I don’t care who has the belt. It’s about getting that title…
“The big fight with me and Adesanya is still on the table. It’s still there. We can still capitalize on that because he does deserve a hiding. He does deserve what’s coming to him from me and how I see this in my mind is I fight Strickland, become middleweight champion and the first fight of the defense is against Israel Adesanya at UFC 300. In a perfect world, that’s how I would like it to play out.”
Adesanya’s timeline for a return is uncertain as of this writing, and that could potentially set up for a Strickland vs. Du Plessis matchup. Strickland, who has a history of being a high-activity fighter, could potentially return by the end of 2023.
Du Plessis understands the potential life-changing money that could come with an Adesanya clash, although his focus at present is adding to his building legacy in the cage.
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