Dricus du Plessis ready to make UFC history for South Africa

Dricus Du Plessis of South Africa reacts after defeating Darren Till of England in a middleweight fight during the UFC 282 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 10, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada

It’s the first time that a South African has ever even fought for a UFC title, and Dricus du Plessis will be hoping to take his change against Sean Strickland in Toronto on Sunday. Picture: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP

Published Jan 20, 2024


Dricus du Plessis will bid to become the first South African UFC world champion when he takes on Sean Strickland for the middleweight title in Toronto on Sunday morning.

In fact, it’s the first time that a South African has ever even fought for a UFC title.

The fight starts at 5am SA time.

Du Plessis thrives on always being seen as an underdog in his career.

‘They don’t know what we know’

“They don’t know what we as South Africans know. We are built different. No matter how tough it goes, no matter how we are faced with hardships everyday, much more than anybody else …” said Du Plessis.

“We love our country, I love our people and I love life … otherwise I would have been out of here a long time ago. This country is a major part of my success, and the major reason for me being successful. It’s because I have that grit, and that South African heart. And that’s what they don’t know.”

They don’t know what we know - this has been the slogan that Du Plessis and his legion of fans have used to describe his ability and potential.

Sam Ancer writing for thefight-site.com said of the clash: “To be honest I don’t believe Du Plessis has the wrestling chops to take Strickland down, but I do think it may be dangerous if something MMA happens and it winds up on the floor.

“As a South African, and someone who’s had a history of underestimating Sean Strickland, I am quite possibly wrong on my read for how this fight may play out. No matter how it goes, the fight will be entertaining, and it could have a massive impact on the MMA scene in South Africa.”

In the lead-up to the fight, Du Plessis made it his goal to antagonise Strickland at every opportunity and no topic has been taboo.

That strategy saw Du Plessis refer to the abuse Strickland was a victim of during his childhood.

Strickland, quite justifiably took exception to Du Plessis’ comments.

It all adds up to extra tension, and whether Du Plessis’ strategy pays off, remains to be seen.


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