UFC 290: Whittaker v Du Plessis
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Add Du Plessis to the list of UFC champions seeking gold in two divisions. But the South African wants to knock off the two most dangerous men at 185 before a 205 pound title shot.

Dricus Du Plessis may be the UFC middleweight title holder, but it feels like he’s currently in a holding pattern as the UFC waits for their former 185 pound champ to come back and fight.

Israel Adesanya vs. Dricus Du Plessis is the obvious fight to make next, but things are complicated by Adesanya’s current leave of absence from competition. There has been talk that the fight could take place in Perth, Australia for August. But nothing is official yet.

In a new interview on YouTube, “Stillknocks” gave an update on the “Stylebender” fight and even paid his rival some compliments in the process.

“I know what the people wanna see, and I go and do it,” Du Plessis said. “And fighting Israel Adesanya is by far the fight that everybody wants to see. There’s a lot of history there. There’s animosity there. I don’t see why we are not fighting. Well, I mean, I understand why we’re not in South Africa at the moment, although that would have been great, but Adesanya doesn’t have a lot of years in the sport left. Two years if that much.”

“What he’s done in the sport is spectacular, it’s amazing,” he added. “And as an athlete, if you don’t respect Israel, you are a moron. As a person, you can have your opinions, which I do. But when it comes to what he’s done in the sport, he is nothing short of spectacular. He’s he’s an incredible fighter, and fighting him is is going to cement my legacy. It’s gonna be it’s gonna be something it’s gonna be another feather in the cap, you know?”

“Beating a guy like Robert Whittaker, becoming a world champion, and then beating one of the greats like Israel Adesanya? How are you not motivated by that? I’ve seen Adesanya as my even when I wasn’t in the UFC. I’ve seen him as the guy that I need to beat to become the best. He set the bar. I mean, long before I was in the UFC, he was the champion, and he set the bar of what you need to be to be a champion.”

Du Plessis also commented on Sean Strickland, the fighter he took the belt off of to become champion. They had a close fight at UFC 297 in January, and there was some talk of a rematch if Adesanya wasn’t ready to return.

“To be quite honest with you, I would have been very happy with [the Strickland] fight,” Dricus said. “I would have loved that fight. It would have been a lot easier, if you ask me, because I’ve been in there full speed with him and I felt what he can do, and I felt the mistakes that I made. We didn’t call it mistakes. I’ll just put my foot on the gas quicker, and then I think I’ll get him out of there.”

“But that that’s not what the UFC wanted. I was happy to do it. Very happy. I have no problem with that whatsoever. Give me [Strickland], perfect. Give me Adesanya, perfect. And they went with Adesanya. Cool. And that’s it. That’s exciting. I’m happy either way.”

Du Plessis also confirmed his roadmap to potential double champion status: defeat Israel Adesanya, defeat Khamzat Chimaev, and then fight Alex Pereira for the 205 pound strap.

“If Khamzat beats Whittaker, beating Khamzat? That earns you a spot at light heavyweight,” he said. “If you look at the the greats, the boogeyman, everybody seems to be scared of Khamzat. I would love that fight.”

“But like I said, I have no problem defending my belt a few times before that. For now, my focus is 100% on the middleweight division and my next fight, which in all likelihood would be Israel Adesanya. And that’s where all my focus is. None of the other plans can come together without this.”

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