Dricus Du Plessis may have a feud with Israel Adesanya, but his focus always has been and remains winning UFC gold – no matter who has it. The shocking main event result at UFC 293 doesn’t change that.
Du Plessis (20-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) was originally tapped to challenge Adesanya (24-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) for the middleweight title in Saturday’s headliner at Qudos Bank Arena. A foot injury prevented him from making the date, and that gave Sean Strickland (28-5 MMA, 15-5 UFC) the opportunity to step in. He made the most of the chance, scoring a stunning unanimous decision win to claim the strap and shake up the weight class.
A showdown between Du Plessis and Adesanya for the title would’ve been big business for everyone, but matchup has been squandered – for now. Du Plessis admits he didn’t predict a Strickland victory, but he said the outcome doesn’t change his goal (via X):
Makes no difference to me, the belt is coming home 🇿🇦
Although Du Plessis is focused on the belt, there’s no guarantee he’s next in line in the aftermath of the event. UFC president Dana White said he plans an immediate rematch between Adesanya and Strickland, which could mean a lengthy wait for other contenders. Additionally, Du Plessis doesn’t appear to be in the UFC’s good graces at the moment, because White made a snide comment at the UFC 293 post-fight press conference that Strickland’s win shows why “you should never turn down fights when you get the call – especially if it’s for a world title.”
It remains to be seen how the future of 185 pounds unfolds, but Du Plessis appears to think his title reign is inevitable, and would’ve already been underway if he were healthy enough to fight at UFC 293 (via X):
You can be so glad I’m not the one in there with you tonight #ufc293
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 293.