Dricus Du Plessis explains decision to reject Israel Adesanya bout at UFC 300: “I’m the champion now”

Dricus du Plessis became the first fighter from South Africa to grab a hold of the prestigious UFC middleweight title and he is also the first African resident to grab the belt. The South African called out Israel Adesanya after he dethroned Sean Strickland at UFC 297 which was reciprocated by Adesanya on his social media channels.

However, the UFC’s announcement of Jamahal Hill versus Alex Pereira for the main event of UFC 300 was much to the dismay of fans worldwide. Dricus du Plessis recently appeared on Cameron Saaiman’s podcast where he delved into what happened behind the scenes.

Dricus Du Plessis talks on rejecting Israel Adesanya bout

Dricus du Plessis and Israel Adesanya had and still has one of the most intense rivalries against each other despite the two never having fought. The two were supposed to fight at UFC 293 but du Plessis had to withdraw due to injury and Sean Strickland, his replacement, defeated Adesanya, sending the Kiwi on a hiatus.

During his interview with Cameroon Saaiman, du Plessis explained why he had to reject a fight with Adesanya even though there were immense financial benefits associated with it.

“I have been taking risks a lot, yeah, but why would I risk it? I’m the champion now, and I can fight when I’m ready,” said du Plessis about his unwillingness to take risks as a champion.

“One thing that matters to me more than fighting on a massive card like 300, and that is being able to defend my title, and doing it in a spectacular fashion,” du Plessis further added why he did not want to fight Adesanya at UFC 300.

Adesanya had earlier revealed during his appearance on Theo Von’s podcast that he was summoned by the UFC to fight at UFC 300 which he agreed to, but du Plessis rejected citing his health concerns.

Dricus Du Plessis’ potential next opponent?

Dricus du Plessis has numerous potential opponents for his first title defense. Despite coming off a loss, Adesanya is a strong candidate due to his rivalry with du Plessis, positioning him as a top contender for the fight.

Second on the list is a rematch with Sean Strickland whom du Plessis defeated by a split decision to win the title at UFC 297. Strickland and his fans have been very vocal about their assertion that Strickland was robbed by the judges and even Dana White openly stated that he thought Strickland won.

Khamzat Chimaev was promised a title shot by White after he defeated Kamaru Usman at UFC 294 in a lackluster performance, despite a dominant first round. As an undefeated fighter and a superstar in the Middle East, Chimaev will be in pole position if the UFC makes the fight happen in the UAE or Riyadh.

After the aforementioned three, Alex Pereira, Jarred Cannonier, and Robert Whittaker also have an outside shot at getting the title. Pereira has an even lower chance due to his status as light heavyweight champion. On the other hand, Cannonier and Whittaker are one more fight away from a title shot.

Who do you think should be next in line to challenge Dricus du Plessis’ UFC middleweight title? Leave your prediction below!

Aramis

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A free spirited human being with a passion for combat sports.

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