- Dricus du Plessis thinks the UFC handpicked Derek Brunson to see how he will perform against an all-around fighter
- “Stillknocks” said he will try to go for a big finish
Dricus du Plessis will be facing the biggest challenge of his career at UFC 285 as he takes on No. 5 contender Derek Brunson. For “Stillknocks,” he considers it a test given to him by the UFC and he is out to prove that he can pass with flying colors by finishing his opponent.
The UFC wants to test Dricus
In an exclusive interview with Middle Easy, Du Plessis candidly said he is certain the UFC wants to see if he can fare well against a high-level all-around fighter in Brunson. Regardless of what the promotion is planning for him, “Stillknocks” pointed out that he will just go out there and be more than happy to take the fight anywhere Brunson wanted to.
“I think this is a big test. I think this is really not for me for me I know what I know I think this is a test from the UFC side that’s saying, ‘Let’s give him a wrestling, grappling type of guy and see how he deal with that. Let’s give him a scrappy guy not this technical strikers we’ve been giving him and see how he deals with that.’ And I’m really looking forward to proving myself and proving to them that I’m the whole package. Everything you heard about me, I’m willing to do with it in any area of MMA… I’m ready for that, if you go to the ground, I’m 100% ready for that and if it stays standing I will pick him apart,” Du Plessis assessed.
Derek will know if he’s retiring
Brunson has not shied away from expressing his desire to retire after a couple more fights this year. Du Plessis said that while nothing is concrete yet, he’ll be the one to help Brunson decide because he’ll make sure to retire him come fight night.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, he’s old’… [But] He’s fought so many good guys… he is a legend in the sport in my opinion, he’s fought the who’s who and he always comes to fight but after his lost to Cannonier, he contemplated retirement. In fact, he announced retirement and then after a while, he said now he’s looking at the files and he can beat these guys and he’s coming back. That tells me something, you already contemplating retirement that where he is in his career, he’s looking at there’s two fights left for him to be there, to have the most wins in the middleweight division if I’m not mistaken, but that’s not motivation enough to where we’re going on Saturday night,” Du Plessis explained.
“If we go into that dark place where Darren Till found himself, where Brad Tavares found himself, that’s where I live that’s where I’m comfortable. When you go to that dark place you need to be a certain type of human, you need to have a certain type of mindset and driving you to keep on going and not give up. And I’m not saying he’s a quitter at all he is definitely not, but what I’m saying is when you go to that dark place and you’ve already decided in your mind that I’ve retired and I’m considering retirement where he is at 100% that’s already in his subconscious mind. When retirement is an option we’re giving up on the career, when you when you move on from this career as an option, when you go into the fight with me, I’m gonna expose and I will find that. That’s what I’m saying, if you’re contemplating retirement, if you I’m thinking about retirement, when you fight me, you will 100% realize that that’s where you should be going,” he continued.
Making a statement
Du Plessis is also well aware that Brunson has never been submitted in his entire career. With that in mind, “Stillknocks” is more eager to go for the finish. He’d love to make a statement by becoming the first fighter to tap Brunson but he’s also fine if he ends up knocking him out.
“I’m chasing the finish like I always do. I’m always looking for the finish and it might look like I’m gonna gas, it might look like I’m getting tired, but ask my opponents how they felt during that time. The flurry that never stops. It’s a flurry from the beginning to the end then yeah I do get tired but I’m prepared for that. That’s how I train as well, so once the fight comes, I’m ready for it. And for a guy like Derek Brunson, to get a finish on him, he’s never been submitted in his whole career and to get a submission on a guy like that would surely make a statement and yeah, obviously to knock the guy out like that for me to get to the top five, getting that submission or knockout, that’s what I’m going to and that’ll be my mindset from the first second the fight starts till the end, to get that finish,” Du Plessis said.
Du Plessis is set to compete in an upcoming UFC event with the goal of extending his undefeated record. He has not suffered a defeat since joining the promotion in 2020, and a victory over Brunson would see him climb into the top five of the middleweight division rankings. In his latest win, “Stillknocks” pulled off a sensational face crank submission on Till at UFC 282.
On the other hand, Brunson is coming off a KO loss to Jared Cannonier and will be hoping to get back to his winning ways. It is yet to be known if Brunson will stick to his plan of retiring this year.