Dricus Du Plessis is zeroed in on January and his shot at the middleweight title. Du Plessis will challenge Sean Strickland for the belt at UFC 297 from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It will mark the first title defense for Strickland.
Du Plessis will challenge Sean Strickland for the belt from Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the Scotiabank Arena on January 20. The event marks the first for the promotion in Toronto since 2018 and the seventh overall.
The 29-year-old sensation from South Africa is riding an eight-fight win streak that includes his first six fights in the UFC. Of those six wins, five have come by way of finish, including the last three.
Back in July, du Plessis secured his title shot with a second round TKO of former champion Robert Whittaker. The win earned him a “Performance of the Night” bonus and pushed his record to 20-2 overall.
“I would give myself a seven for that performance,” he said during a recent interview with Submission Radio. “Because, there was a lot of things that I still did wrong, and a lot of things that I still have to prove that I know I can do much better. And every time I get in there, I’m going to be better.
“And obviously against a guy like Sean Strickland, I said this with Whitaker as well, I have to be perfect in order to beat Whittaker. And I was perfect enough to beat him. But for this fight, I’m stepping it up one more. Stepping up and being even more perfect and coming in there more prepared and making sure that every single thing, every single thing I do, will be perfect.
“There is no room for error if you’re fighting for a world title. There is no room for error at the top of the sport. Because one mistake can cost you a fight, and I won’t let that happen.”
Dricus Du Plessis Wants Israel Adesanya, Light Heavyweight Title
Du Plessis and former champion Israel Adesanya have already engaged themselves in some heated discussions. Now, with Adesanya looking to return and du Plessis fighting for the title, the contender still has his eyes on his rival.
However, that isn’t the only thing in the future for du Plessis, as he revealed during the interview.
“I would still love to fight Israel Adesanya 100 percent. It would be my first choice as a defense, to fight Israel. It’ll be great,” he said. “But I’m assuming Khamzat’s the guy they’re going to try and push. So, that’ll be cool. I do want to defend my belt. I do want to defend the belt before (moving up).
“Obviously, it’s all going to come down to who I beat and how good I make it look. If I go out there and I absolutely destroy Khamzat, what’s there really left? If I go out there and I beat Israel Adesanya after becoming champion, he’s wiped out the whole division. The two guys who wiped out the division was Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya.
“And beating those two guys doesn’t really leave any room left. But I’m a big guy. I can definitely hang with the guys at 205. I’ll be giving up a little bit of reach, but in terms of strength, power and size, I’m right there. But no, that’s talking down the line. For now I have one goal, one goal only, and that’s Sean Strickland. And after that the goal will shift to on whatever happens next.
“Of course, I want that double champ status. Everybody does. I think that’s almost became a norm. It’s beginning that status as a double champ, and I definitely also want that. I want to be in that one percent of the one percent.”