- Dricus du Plessis is optimistic about pulling off a shocking performance against Sean Strickland at UFC 297
- “Stillknocks” shared his honest take on Israel Adesanya’s decision to step away from MMA
Dricus du Plessis is brimming with confidence ahead of the first title fight of his UFC career. For “Stillknocks,” both he and Sean Strickland will put on a show at UFC 297 but it’s him who will give the fans something they have never seen before.
A shocking performance
Speaking to James Lynch of My MMA News, Du Plessis boasted about being a veteran as far as title fight goes. He also emphasized on his cardio that has been often overlooked as well. Ultimately, “Stillknocks” guarantees a shocking performance against the reigning champ.
“I honestly think the first round will play a big role in how this fight ends,” Du Plessis assessed. “I know it’s a five-round fight, it’s different. Sean has had a lot of time in five-round fights, but people forget that for five, six years, I was a champion in every promotion I fought. I only fought five-rounders for five, six years of my career. That’s the only thing we prepared for. Ever since then, I’ve never stopped preparing for five rounds. I didn’t start preparing for three rounds.”
“I know five rounds, it takes longer. But against [Robert] Whittaker, it was such a high-paced fight. In that second round, I wasn’t even at 50 percent in terms of my cardio. I felt amazing… Everybody could see it. We had to make some adjustments, brought some new people in terms of strength and conditioning, and made it more scientific…. That’s one thing that I think is gonna shock a lot of people.”
It would be an epic show
Du Plessis won five of his six wins under the UFC banner via finish. Going up against Strickland, “Stillknocks” expects nothing but an all-out war that people would enjoy watching.
“People know it’s going to be an entertaining fight,” Du Plessis said. “…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,” he added.
Dricus gives Sean his flowers
Admittedly, Du Plessis didn’t think Strickland would beat Isreal Adesanya during their title fight at UFC 293. Even though he still believes that Izzy wasn’t at his best that night, Du Plessis acknowledged Strickland’s impressive performance.
“I definitely didn’t see it play out the way it did, to be honest,” Du Plessis said of Strickland’s win over Adesanya. “… He went and he showed that he had that calmness to him, he didn’t get overwhelmed to fight Adesanya’s fight. He stuck to what he knows and you know I still believe that Adesanya had a very very off night but Sean Strickland did what Sean Strickland does and he did it incredibly good on the night that he beats Adesanya.”
Izzy could be risking his career
Following his title fight loss to Strickland, Adesanya decided to take a break from MMA with a plan to return sometime in 2027. The way Du Plessis sees it, Izzy deserves some time off from competing but it would be a huge risk if he stays inactive for too long.
“I think he deserves some time away from the sport,” Du Plessis said of Izzy. “He said 2027. If he comes back in 2027, he’s gonna get hurt. He shouldn’t do that, but taking some time off, maybe taking a year off, that would be good for him. I think he earned that. I think as one of the best to ever do it in the Middleweight division he deserves to take some time off and right now, as a person, I do not like Adesanya for obvious reasons. As a fighter, as a martial artist to another martial artist, a guy that I know also embodies the martial artist way, he needs to stay strong right now. He can’t lose it. You can’t lose it outside of the ring.”
Du Plessis is coming with an undefeated UFC record. He has beaten some of the best fighters in the division and is coming off a sensational TKO win over former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. Strickland, meanwhile will defend his middleweight title for the first time.
Stating the obvious, it’s a fresh title fight and whatever the result is would surely open up an interesting storyline for everybody in the division.
Check out Du Plessis’ full interview below: