Newly crowned UFC middleweight champion Dricus du Plessis has his sights set on a title match with former kingpin Israel Adesanya.
The South African’s grueling split decision victory over Sean Strickland made him the fourth champion in the division in just over a year, following Alex Pereira, Adesanya, and Strickland themselves.
Dricus Du Plessis and Adesanya’s rivalry dates back to September 2023, when an injury forced the South African to withdraw from their scheduled title fight, allowing Strickland to step in at short notice. This added fuel to the fire, as Du Plessis had previously declared his title win would be the first for an African in the UFC. The tension spilled over after Du Plessis’ knockout of Robert Whittaker, leading to a heated confrontation in the octagon.
When asked about his next opponent, Dricus Du Plessis prioritized recovery and savoring the win before turning his attention to Adesanya. His message was clear, “There was another guy who tried to take my shine. He lost his shine now I have your shine. He didn’t get into the cage tonight but Israel Adesanya. Get your ass back in the UFC so we can settle this score.”
“There’s nothing personal between me and Adesanya, it’s just the fight the fans want to see and I want to fight the best competition. There are a lot of guys I could be fighting but the fans want to see Israel Adesanya, so that’s the fight on top of my head right now
However, Dricus Du Plessis’ immediate future might not involve Adesanya. A rematch with Strickland or a showdown with the rising star Khamzat Chimaev seems more likely. Meanwhile, Adesanya faces his potential switch-up, with archrival Alex Pereira calling him up to challenge for the light heavyweight title.