Dricus Du Plessis Reacts To Khamzat Chimaev Potentially Getting Title Shot: ‘I Think I’m Fighting For The Belt Next’

Dricus Du Plessis opened up about the UFC middleweight title picture and what's next for him.

Dricus Du Plessis
Dricus Du Plessis (Left) and Khamzat Chimaev (Right)(Images via Instagram @DricusDuPlessis and @Khamzat_Chimaev)

Dricus Du Plessis provided an in-depth reaction to Khamzat Chimaev potentially getting the next UFC middleweight title shot. 

In July of this year, Du Plessis secured the biggest win of his career by defeating Robert Whittaker with a second-round TKO finish. As a result, ‘Stillknocks’ was offered a title shot against Israel Adesanya in the latter’s hometown two months later, which he declined.

Instead, Sean Strickland stepped in and pulled off an upset to become the new middleweight king. During the process, Dana White voiced his frustration for Du Plessis not accepting the opportunity when offered. 

On October 21, top middleweight contender Khamzat Chimaev defeated former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 294 after Paulo Costa was forced to pull out.

Once Usman accepted the short-notice fight, Dana White announced the winner would get the next 185-pound title shot. 

As one could imagine, Du Plessis isn’t happy about Chimaev potentially fighting Sean Strickland next for the title. During an interview with The MMA Guru, ‘Stillknocks’ had this to say about the situation: 

“If I knew that [I wasn’t getting a title shot], I would’ve fought a welterweight too rather and than get my title shot. That seems a little bit easier. I’d rather do that next…I hope [Chimaev] has an amazing medical team because he needs to be recovered and be able to fight in the next six or seven weeks.”

Khamzat Chimaev won’t be fighting Sean Strickland in the next few weeks. Dricus Du Plessis was referring to his expectation to accept the short-notice title fight when Chimaev won’t be asked to do the same. 

Du Plessis continued by saying how Chimaev could struggle in the 185-pound division moving forward:

“He’s not a big guy at all, especially at middleweight. I feel that if Khamzat is going to start dealing with the top middleweights with that power with the weight, it’s not gonna work out like that because he uses so much strength when he fights because he’s used to being a weight bully and being able to use that power to beat welterweights. But, it’s not going to work out like that because at middleweight, well, we don’t know how he looks at middleweight because he only fights welterweights. I’ve seen Khamzat. He’s not that big of a guy.”

Khamzat Chimaev was expected to dominate Kamaru Usman, which he did in round one. With that said, Chimaev started to slow down in the second half of the fight, leading to Usman earning a draw on one judge’s scorecard. 

Du Plessis had this to say about what would have happened if Chimaev fought his original opponent, Paulo Costa:

“In my opinion, I think Khamzat can be very, very glad that Paulo Costa pulled out of that fight…I think Costa would have smoked him. I think getting Costa to the ground would have been a lot harder. Not because his wrestling that’s good. I just think he’s so much bigger and stronger than Kamaru Usman.”

Dricus Du Plessis wants to fight Israel Adesanya next if he doesn’t get a middleweight title shot

Following his UFC 294 win, Khamzat Chimaev claimed that he potentially broke his hand against Kamaru Usman. If that’s true, Chimaev could be looking at another extended layoff, which might not work for Sean Strickland, who tends to stay active. 

During the previously mentioned interview, Dricus Du Plessis had this to say about maintaining hope that his next fight will be for the middleweight title:

“I have this weird feeling that I think it’s gonna happen that way. I think I’m fighting for the belt next. If it doesn’t happen that way, I’m not gonna sit and sulk about it. But, I’m not gonna beg for a title shot. That’s not what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna fight and win and beat people for a title shot.”

Du Plessis was later asked who he would want to fight if it was not Sean Strickland. The South African-born fighter responded by calling out his rival, Israel Adesanya:

“The first thing I thought of when they started talking about doing the Khamzat contender. I just went, alright, well, the next best thing, which I believe the fight will be bigger in terms of numbers, is me vs. Adesanya. I would love that fight.”

Dricus Du Plessis made his UFC debut in October 2020. Since then, he’s silenced the doubters by winning six consecutive fights, including five inside the distance. Only time will tell if ‘Stillknocks’ can complete his journey to the top by securing UFC gold.

Watch Dricus Du Plessis’ interview with The MMA Guru below:

Published on October 27, 2023 at 9:09 pm
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