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Dricus du Plessis: UFC 300 is not as massive as UFC Africa

UFC middleweight champion Dricus du Plessis says that any UFC event in Africa will eclipse whatever UFC 300 has to offer.

The UFC has had several African-born champions in the past. In fact, the continent boasted three at the same time when Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya and Francis Ngannou all held belts. UFC overlord Dana White always claimed to be working on a UFC Africa event behind the scenes, but once their title reigns came to an end, the conversation died out. Now, with du Plessis championing the South African cause, the hype train is gaining speed once again.

The Pretoria native is still on the mend from his thrilling decision win over Sean Strickland at UFC 297 last month. As such, du Plessis is not in line to feature on the UFC 300 card in April, which is yet to announce its main event.

While he doesn't doubt the star power being featured at UFC 300, du Plessis believes the promotion's maiden event on African soil - should it ever come to fruition - will be a landmark occasion. 

"I think UFC 300 is obviously going to be a milestone event," du Plessis told his local radio station Jacaranda FM.

"I think it's going to be great. Every time you have the UFC 100, UFC 200, and now 300, all of are massive events and the pay-per-views are insane, it's a massive hype, and I would love to be part of that, but not if it's going to mean that I'm not going to be fully recovered. Defending my title is much more important to me than being on this milestone event.

"The real milestone event will be UFC in Africa, and more importantly, South Africa. I can't even explain to you how long I'll be willing to wait to make that happen and defend my belt on home soil. That's history. UFC 300 is just a number. It's not as massive as UFC Africa."

Without being specific, du Plessis confirmed he is still undergoing medical tests to determine when he can get back into the octagon. The Team CIT fighter has been quite active, racking up six fights in the last three years, which is also factoring in to his decision not to rush back into the violence.

"Right now, we are still busy with some scans and seeing what we can do in terms of after the fight, some injuries, can we fight soon, is that a possibility and all that," he continued. 

"We have to make sure that the longevity of my career is also taken into consideration. We've had a very active last year, year and a half. And that's what I said, we rushed to get to this belt, we had to take every opportunity given to us. Right now, we need to be smart and defend this belt when it suits us."

But looking ahead, du Plessis is under no illusions as to the challenges that await as middleweight champion. Following Adesanya's expletive-laden rant and octagon staredown after he defeated Robert Whittaker at UFC 290, there is hype around that match-up. While the Nigerian-born fighter is currently on a hiatus, it is believed he will return sooner rather than later.

"I wouldn't mind, if that's what the UFC wants," du Plessis said of fighting former champion Adesanya.

"I always say, as a champion, you want to give the people the fight they want to see. For me, that's the important thing. I want to be champion of the world so I don't want to pick any fights because there's going to be an easier fight. If you want to be the best in the world, you have to fight whoever is the next toughest guy in the division. So if the UFC decides they want to do Strickland 2, I'm completely happy with that. If the fans say, no, that's the fight they want, let's do it. I honestly think the second fight will be a lot easier than the first one."

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