Dricus Du Plessis holds an unwavering desire to claim the UFC championship, displaying indifference towards facing Israel Adesanya or any other contender.
Should he emerge victorious in his upcoming match against Robert Whittaker at UFC 290, Du Plessis would extend his unbeaten streak to 6-0 in the UFC, positioning himself as the probable top contender in the middleweight division. Given the recent heated exchanges between Du Plessis and Adesanya, a title bout between them appears to be an ideal scenario.
Nevertheless, Du Plessis is fully committed to the task at hand, acknowledging the significance of defeating Whittaker with utmost respect. The outcome of this fight, whether it propels him to challenge Adesanya at UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia, in September or not, remains secondary in his mind.
“Having fought three times in the last seven months, I’ve been actively pursuing these fights to ascend the ranks,” Du Plessis expressed during the UFC 290 media day. “If I’m physically capable and face no impediments to embark on my training camp for the title fight, I’ll be ready without hesitation. However, my current focus lies solely on Robert Whittaker. Whether or not I become the No. 1 contender will be determined by the powers that be.”
The timing of Adesanya’s next title defense has created uncertainty in the contender landscape, especially with expectations of him defending his belt in Australia. While names like Du Plessis, Sean Strickland, and previous title challenger Jared Cannonier are still in contention, the identity of the middleweight title challenger remains uncertain.
While an Adesanya vs. Du Plessis grudge match appears to be the most enticing option for the UFC, Du Plessis maintains a nonchalant stance regarding Adesanya’s presence atop the division when he finally earns his championship opportunity.
“The UFC will ultimately make that decision, and it’s beyond my control,” Du Plessis explained. “However, there won’t be any denying my claim as the No. 1 contender after defeating Rob. But if circumstances prevent me from physically fighting in Sydney, such as injuries or severe cuts that require an extended absence, anything can happen in this sport. As I’ve said before, it doesn’t bother me. My goal is not to fight Izzy specifically, but to face the titleholder. Whether it’s Izzy, Strickland, or anyone else, I don’t mind. My focus is on challenging whoever possesses the title to become the champion.”
Despite having previously lost two championship fights against Adesanya, Whittaker remains a viable title contender. During the media day, Whittaker suggested that he fights to maintain his status, while Du Plessis has little to lose.
Du Plessis staunchly disagreed with this evaluation of the matchup stakes. “I don’t understand what he means. I have everything to lose,” Du Plessis exclaimed. “What do you mean? I’ve worked hard to build this record, striving to be number one in the world and become the world champion. Of course, I have something to lose—everything, in fact. I’m here to win. My objective is to become the UFC middleweight champion of the world, and I’ll do whatever it takes to overcome the formidable challenge of Robert Whittaker and earn my shot at the title. So, ‘nothing to lose’? That simply doesn’t make sense.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UFC title
Q: Is Dricus Du Plessis specifically targeting Israel Adesanya for the UFC title?
A: No, Dricus Du Plessis is solely focused on becoming the UFC champion and is open to facing any opponent for the title, including Israel Adesanya. His primary goal is to fight whoever holds the belt in the middleweight division.