Morning Report: Dricus Du Plessis targets light heavyweight title after a Sean Strickland win at UFC 297

Dricus Du Plessis doesn’t anticipate having a lengthy title reign as middleweight champion should he get the job done in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at UFC 297 on Jan. 20, 2024.

The 29-year-old “StillKnocks” has been perfect inside the octagon thus far. Competing on six occasions in the UFC, Du Plessis (20-2) has won all of his bouts and gone the distance on one of those occasions. Overall, he’s won eight straight, dating back to his time as the KSW welterweight champion before returning to EFC where he defended his middleweight title and earned a contract with the worldwide leader.

Holding gold in two different weight classes is nothing new for the South African and ultimately, he intends on doing so again in his current fighting home. To close out the first UFC PPV of 2024, Du Plessis will challenge the current middleweight champion, Sean Strickland. After a win, “DDP” eventually intends to secure UFC double champion status by claiming the light heavyweight strap.

“That all depends how the division opens up,” Du Plessis told Submission Radio. “I would still love to fight Israel Adesanya. 100 percent it would be my first choice as a defense. It would be great but I’m assuming Khamzat [Chimaev] is the guy they’re gonna try and push. So that would be cool [too]. I do want to defend my belt before — obviously, it’s all gonna 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, what is there really — it’s wiped out the whole division. The two guys who wiped out the division were Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya, and beating those two guys doesn’t really leave any room left.”

Du Plessis’ original title shot looked to be coming against Adesanya at UFC 293 this past September in Sydney, Australia. Unfortunately for Du Plessis, a foot injury sustained in his upset TKO win of Whittaker nine weeks prior prevented him from making the turnaround. Therefore, Strickland entered in Du Plessis’ spot and made the best of it, dethroning Adesanya via unanimous decision.

The performance by the new champion was an eye-opener, to say the least. Strickland put on a defensive masterclass, outstriking one of MMA’s all-time greatest strikers. Between him and Du Plessis, the middleweights are two of the more unorthodox at their craft. In the end, the challenger sees the UFC 297 main event coming down to pace control.

“I have my style of fighting and he has his style of fighting,” Du Plessis said. “In our fight, it’s going to be the guy who imposes his will and fights his fight the best. That’s going to be the winner and that’s going to be me.

“His defense is ugly. It’s very weird but it’s effective. I think he deflects shots beautifully and I think irritating is a good style. It’s always pushing something out there and it’s such a different style. I don’t think he has that crazy knockout power but he does have qualities. If you’re fighting on his pace I promise you you’re going to lose that fight.

“If you’re going to fight his pace, and Israel Adesanya fought his pace. He walks forward. He makes people tentative sometimes because he’s slipping punches all the time,” he continued. “With that being said, I don’t think to fight his pace is a smart move. I know I’m more athletic. I know I’m stronger physically and using that to my advantage, making sure I hit harder but making sure that every shot I throw lands… I need one shot. I need to land one shot. If [Alex] Pereira can knock him out, I can knock him out even better.”

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The MMA Hour.

Random questions with Bobby Green.

Bonus Resume: Beneil Dariush.

Free fight.

Tsarukyan and ATT.

A Spaniard’s Champ Camp.

Team Renegade sparring day.

A confession…

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Lateral drops.




That’s a long time.



Birthday girl.

Farewell, champ.



Love of the game.


Shinya Aoki (47-11, 1 NC) vs. Sage Northcutt (12-3); ONE 165, Jan. 28

Marquel Mederos (8-1) vs. Landon Quiñones (7-2-1); UFC Vegas 85, Feb. 3

Gilbert Urbina (7-3) vs. Charles Radtke (8-3); UFC Vegas 85, Feb. 3

“DDP” has that unshakeable ambition. The man has some big challenges ahead of him, but boy, he’s been unstoppable thus far so probably should stop doubting him sooner rather than later. Seeing how a former middleweight champion is now the light heavyweight champion, it kind of helps support his potential to make this dream a reality.

Thanks for reading!


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