Dricus Du Plessis certainly doesn’t hold Chael Sonnen’s recent remarks in high regard. After his impressive victory over Robert Whittaker at UFC 290, Du Plessis had solidified his position as the undisputed number one contender to face Israel Adesanya next. However, a cruel twist of fate in the form of an injury sidelined Du Plessis, leading to Sean Strickland stepping in at UFC 293 and causing one of the most significant upsets in MMA history, throwing the middleweight title picture into disarray. In response to this, Sonnen voiced his criticisms of Du Plessis, suggesting he had squandered his title opportunity and was now stranded in a state of uncertainty. This critique didn’t sit well with Du Plessis, to say the least.
Du Plessis, in an interview on The MMA Hour, recounted the situation: “We did a faceoff, and the champion got in there, so it was set in stone. I am the No. 1 contender in the world. For me, that was basically set in stone. Even backstage we spoke about it, going to Australia, what the arrangements would be, with the powers that be. So it was basically a done deal, but I said it at the presser, if I’m medically able to, that’s the fight I’m going to take.”
Then came Sonnen’s eyebrow-raising comment: “Chael Sonnen said something stupid like, ‘Dricus wasn’t even limping when he was walking out of the cage!’ What a dumb thing to say. All that adrenaline in your body, you just knocked out Whittaker, just faced off with Adesanya, you think I’m going to walk with a limp? I don’t know what kind of man you are, but I’ll fake that limp every day.”
Du Plessis’s inability to compete at UFC 293 was due to a foot injury he sustained right before his bout with Robert Whittaker at UFC 290. Elaborating on the unfortunate timing of the injury, Du Plessis explained, “We spoke about it. We as a team, me and my coaches, my teammates, the whole team, we realized this is going to be a tough one. We’re going to have to make this quick turnaround.”
But Du Plessis, with the wisdom of an experienced fighter, understood the risks involved: “Then a lot of people said, is there a part of you that has to take the fight camp and take into consideration that you have to fight in seven weeks when you’re fighting Robert Whittaker? I thought about it and said, listen, that’s not even possible. Fighting Robert Whittaker at 70 percent so I don’t injure myself or don’t use all of my [abilities]. No. If I’m fighting Robert Whittaker, you need to fight at 110 percent, and that’s what I did.”
The injury struck at the worst possible moment: “I had a great fight camp, but unfortunately I got injured, 19 or 18 days — it was exactly the day before we flew out. It was my last session at the gym and I injured myself. I didn’t kick with the foot once. Everybody at the [UFC] PI, all the physios, you can ask them. They were working on the foot every day before the Whittaker fight. Adrenaline pulled me through. Three weeks before the fight, when I arrive, all the hard work is done. I’m ready to fight.”
Despite these circumstances beyond his control, Du Plessis finds himself on the sidelines in the middleweight title picture. UFC CEO Dana White has suggested an immediate rematch for Adesanya, and as Sonnen pointed out, the winner of the upcoming fight between Khamzet Chimaev and Paulo Costa could leapfrog Du Plessis in the pecking order. Nevertheless, Du Plessis has no regrets: “Not at all. Not one single part. The best Dricus would beat him, the Dricus that fights when he’s fit and healthy, one hundred percent.”
He also emphasized the importance of being at his best for such a high-stakes bout: “I only started kicking two, three weeks ago. Being a kicker myself, against a guy that kicks a lot, not being able to kick, not even being able to wrestle properly because of the foot, that version of me, that’s why we said no. Because I knew I was going to be below 60 percent going into that fight. And going into a fight like that when you’re prepared, in the middle of camp, that’s one thing. But starting your camp that way, that’s foolishness.”
In the world of MMA, where fortunes can change in the blink of an eye, Dricus Du Plessis stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment and calculated decision-making of a true contender. While the path to a title shot may have taken an unexpected detour, Du Plessis remains resolute in his pursuit of glory in the octagon. The drama and intrigue of the middleweight division continue to unfold, and it’s a story that every fight fan will be eager to follow.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Dricus Du Plessis UFC Journey
Q: Why couldn’t Dricus Du Plessis fight Israel Adesanya at UFC 293?
A: Dricus Du Plessis was initially set to face Israel Adesanya after his impressive victory over Robert Whittaker at UFC 290. However, an unfortunate foot injury struck just before his bout with Whittaker. This injury not only prevented him from competing at his best but also made it impossible for him to take on Adesanya at UFC 293.
Q: What did Chael Sonnen say about Dricus Du Plessis that upset him?
A: Chael Sonnen, a prominent figure in the MMA community, criticized Dricus Du Plessis for missing his title opportunity and suggested that he was now stuck in limbo. Sonnen’s remark that particularly irked Du Plessis was when he questioned why Du Plessis wasn’t limping after his fight with Whittaker, implying that he might have faked the extent of his injury.
Q: Did Dricus Du Plessis regret not taking the fight against Israel Adesanya at UFC 293?
A: No, Dricus Du Plessis expressed no regrets about not taking the fight against Israel Adesanya at UFC 293. He believed that fighting Adesanya at anything less than 100 percent fitness wouldn’t have been wise, especially considering Adesanya’s skills as a fighter. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Du Plessis remained resolute in his decision.
Q: What were the factors that led to Dricus Du Plessis’ injury and subsequent withdrawal from UFC 293?
A: Dricus Du Plessis’ injury occurred just 19 or 18 days before UFC 293, which was the day before he was set to fly out for the fight. He sustained the injury during his last training session at the gym. Du Plessis emphasized that he didn’t even kick with the injured foot and had to rely on adrenaline to carry him through the fight.
Q: What is the future outlook for Dricus Du Plessis in the middleweight title picture?
A: Despite the injury and subsequent withdrawal, Dricus Du Plessis remains committed to his pursuit of a middleweight title shot. UFC CEO Dana White has suggested an immediate rematch for Israel Adesanya, and there’s the upcoming fight between Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa to consider. While the path to a title shot may have taken a detour, Du Plessis remains a formidable contender in the middleweight division, and fans can anticipate more excitement in his MMA journey.