Dricus Du Plessis reflects on Israel Adesanya confrontation at UFC 290



UFC 290: Whittaker v Du Plessis
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Dricus Du Plessis doesn’t like the direction his rivalry with Israel Adesanya is headed.

The volatile nature of the banter between Du Plessis and Adesanya reached a peak at UFC 290 two weekends ago. Adesanya entered the cage following Du Plessis’ massive second-round TKO upset of former champion Robert Whittaker, confronting the new No. 1 contender and unleashing a myriad of N-words at the South Africa native. Du Plessis stood his ground momentarily as security watched closely. Ultimately, “StillKnocks” ended the pair’s first-ever staredown by simply walking away with his hands raised after the biggest victory in his 22-fight career (20-2).

Adesanya’s heated volleys at Du Plessis stem from the latter’s comments about becoming the eventual first fighter to bring a UFC title to Africa. Despite never walking back his comments, Du Plessis, 29, has since clarified that his intent was never racially motivated and he now hopes to get as far away from such types of talk as soon as possible.

“There’s people looking up to you as champion, I believe, and that was my statement afterward, saying, ‘You behaved like a child and a clown, behave like a man.’ You are an example to people all over the world,” Du Plessis said of Adesanya on Cameron Saaiman’s YouTube channel. “One of the biggest stars in sports. Not only in this sport, in sports. So, he talked about the vibe somewhere in this whole saga but doing something going with racial slurs does not belong in sports. It doesn’t belong in the world, in my opinion. I do not want that a part of anything that I’m doing.

“This sport is so amazing and has given so many people so much things, and bringing [in] race, color, with racial slurs, all of that stuff, immediately made me like, ‘I don’t want to be a part of this.’ That’s why I just walked away. I’m not gonna engage in that. That is not the example I want to set for people. That is not what my message to anybody in the world is. I guess he can do whatever he wants. Dana [White] said it. He can say whatever he wants. He can. I’m just not entertaining that. I’m not entertaining any talk about the racial slurs that he’s been using.”

Du Plessis’ win made him undeniable as the next title challenger for Adesanya and a date at UFC 293 this September in Sydney, Australia couldn’t be any better for the UFC as planned. However, Du Plessis’ status is now in question thanks to the champion, who just this week hinted at Du Plessis having a foot injury. Adesanya slandered Du Plessis with more insults before calling for a fight against Sean Strickland instead. Du Plessis didn’t address the speculation with his teammate Saaiman but Strickland confirmed Thursday in an interview with Helen Yee that discussions of him vs. Adesanya next are underway.

Regardless of whether or not Du Plessis’ title shot is next atop the middleweight division, the former KSW title holder has even more confidence in his championship dreams coming true after his first face-to-face with “The Last Stylebender.”

“He was drunk, I guess. I hope so for his part,” Du Plessis said. “They (White and Hunter Campbell) were just like, ‘Is this a good idea?’ Because they didn’t want to take the moment away from myself and Rob, which I understand but it didn’t feel like that to me. To me, it felt like, ‘Give me my next target.’ I said it before, I hoped he’d get in that cage because he’ll feel my energy when I’m in that cage. He’s gonna see how big I am in that cage. Now I’ve seen him in that cage and I felt his energy.

“There’s only one time you see your opponent in a cage and that’s when you fight him. Now I’ve seen him before the fight. Now I’ve felt what he feels like in the cage and my man is in trouble, I’ll tell you that. And he knows it. You can feel that energy. Especially that energy that you’re feeling after you’ve just knocked out Robert Whittaker.”


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Happy Friday, gang. Thanks for reading!


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