Dricus Du Plessis is currently not focused on a potential showdown with Israel Adesanya, following Sean Strickland’s victory over Adesanya at UFC 293 to claim the middleweight title. Instead, Du Plessis has shifted his immediate attention to challenging the new champion, Sean Strickland.
In a post on social media, Du Plessis expressed his desire for a title shot against Strickland, asserting his position as the No. 1 contender. He wrote, “Myself and [Strickland] had the biggest upsets of 2023, and I am undoubtedly the No. 1 contender, so let’s settle this like men whenever, wherever.” Du Plessis also added that he plans to face Adesanya in South Africa after securing the middleweight title.
Du Plessis solidified his claim to a title shot with a dominant second-round TKO victory over former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 290 in July. This win improved his UFC record to 6-0 and his overall professional record to 20-2.
Immediately following his victory over Whittaker, Du Plessis had a heated confrontation with Adesanya inside the cage, sparking speculation that they might face off at UFC 293. However, Du Plessis suffered an injury that prevented a quick turnaround, leading to Strickland stepping in to face Adesanya.
Now, Du Plessis aims to defeat Strickland and subsequently challenge Adesanya at a later date. He emphasized his desire to face the best version of Adesanya, urging the former champion to take some time to prepare.
However, Du Plessis may need to persuade UFC President Dana White to endorse his plan. At the UFC 293 post-fight press conference, White expressed interest in an immediate rematch between Strickland and Adesanya, indicating that the decision may not be straightforward.