Dricus Du Plessis is set to make his mark in the UFC middleweight championship race in 2024, following a remarkable streak of six consecutive victories in the Octagon. UFC’s chief Dana White recently announced that Du Plessis, known in the fighting world as ‘Stillknocks’, is slated to challenge the reigning middleweight champion Sean Strickland at the main event of UFC 297 on January 20.
This opportunity comes in the wake of his stunning second-round knockout of Robert Whittaker at UFC 290. Despite his impressive performance, there were rumours that Khamzat Chimaev might overtake Du Plessis in the title chase after Chimaev’s victory by majority decision against Kamaru Usman, who stepped in at the last minute for UFC 294. Chimaev was initially set to fight Paulo Costa in a highly anticipated middleweight title eliminator.
Dricus Du Plessis Acknowledges Khamzat Chimaev May Be His First Title Defense
While Chimaev wasn’t part of the initial discussions for UFC 297’s title bout, Du Plessis acknowledges that a showdown with the undefeated Chechen fighter could be on the horizon if he secures the 185-pound title in Toronto.
In a conversation with journalist James Lynch, Du Plessis commented, “It looks like the UFC might line up Khamzat for me,” indicating the organization’s interest in a match-up between him and Chimaev. “He’s got a strong following, and they had mentioned giving him a title shot post his win over Usman. I’m more than ready to face him as the champion and take on the challenge. It would be an exciting fight to have.”
Du Plessis also expressed confidence in his abilities to tackle the unique challenge posed by Chimaev in the Octagon. “He’s likely to aim for takedowns, and that’s expected,” Du Plessis observed. “But I don’t think he fully understands the difference in power between the 170 and 185 classes. He tends to overpower his opponents, showcasing his strength. If he comes at me with that strategy, he’s going to experience what true strength is in the middleweight division,” he added, highlighting his readiness for the potential match-up (courtesy of MMA Mania).