Robert Whittaker Weighs in on Who Should Get the First Shot at Middleweight Champ Dricus Du Plessis

'The Reaper' debates who's more deserving of a title shot; Sean Strickland or Israel Adesanya

Robert Whittaker Talks Dricus Du
Robert Whittaker Talks Dricus Du - Image credit @dricusduplessis Twitter @MMArcadepodcast Youtube

Perennial middleweight contender Robert Whittaker would rather see Dricus Du Plessis put his title on the line against Israel Adesanya rather than in an immediate rematch with Sean Strickland.

In January, ‘Stillknocks’ scored a closely contested split decision over Strickland to capture the middleweight crown, setting the stage for a scrap with former two-time titleholder Israel Adesanya. By all accounts, that appears to be the fight to make. But with ‘The Last Stylebender’ taking an extended hiatus after losing the 185-pound crown for the second time in less than a year, the UFC may move forward with a different fight for DDP’s first defense.

Offering his take on the top of the middleweight division during an appearance on the MMArcade Podcast, former champion Robert Whittaker suggested that the promotion may choose to avoid putting Strickland back into the main event spotlight.

“I don’t know, mate. Me. Call me out you b*m. I can see them making that [Israel Adesanya] fight because of the bad blood between them, because of South Africa and that whole story arc. I can’t really see the UFC getting behind [Sean] Strickland again. I don’t think they loved him as a champ to begin with so I don’t think they’re really gunning for that rematch. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m kind of hoping Dricus gets Izzy in a sense, just so that I can fight Strickland.”

Will the UFC Miss Out on Making Dricus Du Plessis vs. Israel Adesanya for the Second Time?

Du Plessis and Adesanya appeared to be on a collision course following a heated verbal exchange at UFC 290 moments after DDP’s second-round knockout of Robert Whittaker. However, Adesanya’s loss to Sean Strickland in September derailed those plans — until Du Plessis unseated ‘Tarzan’ as the middleweight division’s top dog in January. 
With another golden opportunity to make DDP vs. the ‘Stylebender’ happen, it’s hard to imagine the UFC will do anything else, but much of that will depend on when Adesanya is ready to make his return to the Octagon. 
Do you agree with Whittaker’s take, or would you prefer to see Du Plessis run back his UFC 297 scrap with Sean Strickland?
Watch the full episode below:
Published on March 22, 2024 at 11:49 am
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