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UFC star Dricus du Plessis draws inspiration from all-conquering Springboks

For South African UFC star Dricus du Plessis, the World Champion Springboks are a huge source of inspiration.

The middleweight was celebrating in the stands in Paris when the Boks won their fourth World Cup and du Plessis is eager to ride that wave of patriotism and - for lack of a better word - 'gees' - all the way to a UFC title.   

The Pretoria native has been flying the flag high in the UFC, moving to 6-0 in the promotion with his last TKO victory in July. Now, du Pessis has a chance to become the first South African UFC champion when he faces Sean Strickland at UFC 297 on 20 January.

In a wide-ranging interview with Ben Karpinski, the middleweight revealed how the Springboks have always been close to his heart.

"I was 13 when the Boks won the 2007 World Cup," said the 29-year-old.

"I remember that final so well. Even then, when you see guys coming from the exact same place as you become world champions, immediately, I said 'I want to become a Springbok. I want to be a world champion. I want to represent the flag and wear green and gold'.

"That hasn't changed, I'm just not playing rugby. I want to go out there and win a world cup and represent South Africa as being the best in the world at something, to be the best in the world at MMA and that's what I'm going out there to prove. 

"It's massive motivation to see South Africans go crazy [in their support of the Boks]. That motivates me because I also want to be one of those guys that people look up to and be seen as a superhero for the country."

The former KSW champion went on to make some comparisons between him and the all-conquering Springobks in terms of mindset. 

"The similarities there is that we out-grit and we out-fight," continued du Plessis. 

"In a lot of games, it didn't look good for us. But that dog we have in us to fight, to get together, to leave the last the last bit of our souls on the field or in the octagon. The refusal to give up when a lot of teams would break under pressure. To fight for the victory when it was almost out of reach. 

"That is what makes us different and that's something that I look up to from the Springboks. Going further than anyone would even think of going to get the victory, that's what makes us South Africans different."

Du Plessis will certainly be testing the 'built different' adage when he climbs into the cage with Strickland, who caused one the promotion's greatest upsets when he out-pointed the indomitable Israel Adesanya in September.

The build-up to UFC 297 is already full steam ahead, with Strickland and du Plessis getting into an altercation cage-side at UFC 296 on Saturday.

When the pair next meet on 20 January, there won't be any security to separate them...

READ MORE: UFC 296 - Leon Edwards and Alexandre Pantoja defend titles, Shavkhat Rakhmonov continues incredible finishing streak

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