Dricus Du Plessis, the formidable middleweight contender, is gearing up for a potentially explosive clash with Khamzat Chimaev. Originally on track to face Israel Adesanya for the title at UFC 293, Du Plessis faced setbacks due to injury, prompting doubts about his championship aspirations. However, fate intervened, and a twist of events now positions him for a title shot against Sean Strickland.
Du Plessis, commonly known as 'Stillknocks' is not just grateful for this opportunity; he's confident in his ability to thwart Chimaev's fighting style. The South African fighter expressed his views on a potential showdown with 'Borz' in an interview with James Lynch, stating, "I don't think [Chimaev] realizes the power difference between 170 and 185. If he fights me and he fights that way, he's going to find out what strength really feels like."
The anticipation for a clash between Du Plessis and Chimaev escalated after the latter's unfortunate injury against Kamaru Usman at UFC 294. Initially slated to determine the next challenger for Du Plessis, Chimaev's setback paved the way for the South African to possibly secure a title shot against Strickland.
CEO Dana White had hinted at this trajectory, announcing that the winner of Chimaev vs. Usman would face Du Plessis. Despite Chimaev's unavailability for a January fight, the prospect of a showdown with the winner of Strickland vs. Du Plessis looms large.
Reflecting on his potential opponent, Du Plessis dissected Chimaev's fighting approach, highlighting a perceived reliance on overpowering opponents. He emphasized the disparity in power dynamics at different weight classes, suggesting that Chimaev's favored style might not yield the same results against him.
This revelation comes on the heels of Du Plessis making himself unavailable for the proposed UFC 293 card, leading to Sean Strickland's entry and subsequent triumph over Adesanya. Du Plessis had initially shared an intense face-off with Adesanya after his victory over Robert Whittaker at UFC 290, setting the stage for an imminent clash.
As for Adesanya, who declared a hiatus from MMA, Du Plessis acknowledges the champion's deserving break. Commenting on Adesanya's hiatus during the interview with James Lynch, Du Plessis stated, "He deserves some time away from the sport. If he comes back in 2027, he's going to get hurt. You shouldn't do that."
The unfolding narrative sets the stage for a compelling chapter in the UFC middleweight division, with Dricus Du Plessis poised to make a significant statement against Khamzat Chimaev and potentially secure his path to championship glory.
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