Fresh off his hard-fought title win over Sean Strickland at UFC 297, middleweight champ Dricus du Plessis faced the press with a sense of humor about his battered appearance. Jokingly addressing the damage sustained in the fight, he remarked, “Do you remember how handsome I was before this fight? I look like a cauliflower now. But yeah, I’m pretty banged up right now.”
As the new champion, one of the immediate questions revolved around his next opponent. Du Plessis wasted no time in calling out former champ Israel Adesanya, expressing his interest in a quick turnaround for a fight at UFC 300 on April 13. Despite the toll of a five-round battle, du Plessis seemed open to the idea, stating, “I’m up for another round if they want to go. Yeah, I don’t want to put a timeline on it, but UFC 300 sounds amazing.”
The potential matchup between du Plessis and Adesanya has been a long-anticipated one, with the rivalry escalating after a verbal altercation in July and Adesanya’s shocking loss to Strickland at UFC 293. Although Adesanya initially announced a break from the sport, recent teases of a comeback have fueled speculation.
Addressing the call-out, du Plessis clarified that it’s not personal, emphasizing, “It’s nothing personal. It’s not personal at all. That’s just the fight the fans want to see. I want to fight the best competition.” Despite their bitter history, including a racially charged debate over the “real” African champion, du Plessis sees the potential bout as something fans are excited about.
While undefeated Khamzat Chimaev threw his name into the mix by challenging du Plessis for UFC 300, the new champion dismissed the idea. Responding to Chimaev’s tweet, du Plessis remarked, “Yeah, but he said that to Jon Jones. Who takes that guy seriously?”
Despite concerns about a quick turnaround after a grueling battle, du Plessis asserted his place among the elite middleweights. With doubts about his cardio now hopefully put to rest, he concluded, “If not, keep on doubting, I don’t care. At your own demise, of course.” The potential clash between du Plessis and Adesanya adds anticipation to UFC 300, and an official announcement is awaited.