Dricus du Plessis Focused on Bringing Card to Africa, Not UFC 300

UFC
February 9, 2024
Rumors of Dricus Du Plessis potentially defending his belt at UFC 300 are most likely not true.

Coming off a split-decision title win over Sean Strickland in a nailbiter at UFC 297 last month, du Plessis doesn’t have a potential timeline in mind for his first defense.

“I have no idea [when it’ll be]. For me, 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,” the middleweight champ told South African radio station Jacaranda FM. “So that’ll be great [to get that done], that’ll be great, but 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.”

Rumors of a potential UFC 300 outing stemmed from a cryptic tweet by former champ Israel Adesanya, who is expected to be du Plessis’ next opponent. Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight and analyst Michael Chiesa subsequently said that the promotion was targeting the fight for UFC 300. While du Plessis acknowledges the significance of the card, he isn’t willing to sacrifice his recovery to be a part of it.

As the first South African UFC champ, bringing the promotion to his home country for a title defense remains du Plessis’ primary focus.

“I think UFC 300 is obviously going to be a milestone event,” the 30-year-old said. “I think it’s going to be great. Every time you have the UFC 100, UFC 200, and now 300, all of them 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.”

Adesanya remains the preferred opponent for du Plessis for his first title defense and “Stillknocks” believes it will most probably be so. However, the South African hasn’t completely shut the doors on a rematch against Strickland if circumstances call for it.

“I wouldn’t mind, if that’s what the UFC wants. 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 two, 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.”

Reference: https://www.sherdog.com/news/news/Dricus-du-Plessis-Focused-on-Bringing-Card-to-Africa-Not-UFC-300-192550

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