In an unexpected turn of events, Dricus Du Plessis, set to face Sean Strickland for the UFC middleweight title, found himself in a scuffle with his upcoming opponent during UFC 296 in Las Vegas. While the official clash is scheduled for UFC 297, emotions ignited early as Strickland confronted Du Plessis between fights.
During the event, Strickland, seated a few rows in front of Du Plessis, initiated an attack after exchanging words. The incident unfolded when production cameras highlighted both fighters in attendance, leading to a physical altercation that required security intervention. Strickland was subsequently escorted out of the arena.
Speaking with Megan Olivi backstage on the ESPN+ post-fight show, Du Plessis shared his perspective on the incident, maintaining a lighthearted tone despite the scuffle. "I’m 5-0 in the T-Mobile Arena, and tonight I officially became 6-0, so I’m happy with that" Du Plessis joked. "Things happen, and nobody got hurt. All is good.”
The tensions between the fighters had been simmering since the UFC’s seasonal press conference, where heated words were exchanged. Du Plessis touched a nerve when mentioning Strickland’s past, particularly his abusive childhood. Du Plessis, unphased by Strickland's reaction, emphasized that if one can dish it out, they should be able to take it.
Looking ahead to their official bout for the UFC middleweight title on Jan. 20 in Toronto, Du Plessis expressed his calm demeanor. He noted, "I’m feeling absolutely great, and the fact that he’s triggered only plays into my advantage. I can’t believe how easy it was to mentally trigger him."
While the pre-fight scuffle adds intensity to their rivalry, both fighters now have the chance to settle their differences in the octagon come January. The incident serves as a precursor to what promises to be an electrifying showdown for the UFC middleweight title.
Source and image courtesy: MMA JUNKIE