• Home
  • Mma
  • UFC : Dricus Du Plessis Previews Middleweight Title Shot Against Sean Strickland

UFC 297: Dricus du Plessis previews middleweight title shot against Sean Strickland

South African UFC star Dricus du Plessis has a chance at making history when he faces Sean Strickland for the coveted middleweight strap at UFC 297.

Du Plessis has turned heads in more ways than one ever since he signed with the promotion in 2020, earning a first-round KO in his UFC debut.

Since, the Pretoria native has fought his way up the rankings with finish after finish. Perhaps his most impressive outing was against former division champion Robert Whittaker in July, whom not many gave him a chance against. But once again, du Plessis silenced the doubters with second-round KO to earn himself a title shot. 

Speaking to James Lynch from My MMA News, du Plessis indicated fans can expect more of the same when he steps into the octagon against Strickland on 20 January. 

"People know it's going to be an entertaining fight," said the 29-year-old, who boasts an impressive 20-2 MMA record.

"Not one of [my past] performances - good or bad - haven't been entertaining. When you get me and Stickland, you're getting two guys who are not afraid to stand and bang. He doesn't like to fight going backwards - and I promise you I'm not fighting going backwards - so that's all you need to know.

"If you get two that are fighting on the front foot, who like to put on the pressure, you're going to get a clash in the middle of the cage and we'll see who goes down." 

Before the Whittaker fight, du Plessis had surgery to mend a sinus issue, which has greatly increased his oxygen intake through his nose. Testing out his new hardware in the cage, du Plessis was suitably impressed with his cardio.

"It was such a high-paced fight" reflected the Team CIT member. 

"But in the second round, I wasn't even at 50% in terms of my cardio. I felt amazing in that fight. It was like having an oxygen tank on my back. After the first round, I could see Rob was breathing heavily, I could see Rob looking at me like 'wow this guy is not slowing down'."

Du Plessis isn't one to die wondering. Looking ahead to UFC 297, du Plessis plans to keep his foot flat on the accelerator. 

"One thing that I think is going to shock a lot of people, is the way I go at this," continued the Team CIT fighter.

"From the very first second of this fight, I'm going like I always do. The first opportunity I get, I'm going to finish this fight. My honest prediction, there's no way we're going the championship rounds of this fight."

And the numbers back him up. For all his time spent as KSW and EFC champion, du Plessis went into five-round fights but finished his opponent (or was finished) in the third round at the latest.

In fact, the longest fight in his career was the 15 minutes against the incredibly durable Brad Tavares in 2022, where the American got his highlights dyed red by his own blood. 

If du Plessis' unwavering confidence is anything to go by, the UFC will have its first South African champion in 2024. 

READ MORE: UFC 295 - Knockout wins for new champions Tom Aspinall and Alex Pereira

More Articles