Dricus Du Plessis says Israel Adesanya dodged a bullet by going on hiatus: ‘I would’ve manhandled him’

Dricus Du Plessis

It’s safe to say that there is no love lost between former two-time middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya and No. 2 ranked contender Dricus Du Plessis.

Following Du Plessis’ shocking second-round knockout of Robert Whittaker at UFC 290, all signs pointed toward ‘Stillknocks’ receiving his long-awaited UFC title opportunity a short eight weeks later in The Land Down Under. Unfortunately, Du Plessis was unable to make the quick turnaround, opening the door for Sean Strickland to step in and challenge Adesanya for the 185-pound crown at UFC 293 in September.

We all know how that story ends.

After losing the middleweight title for the second time in less than a year, Adesanya announced that he would take a lengthy break from fighting after establishing himself as the most active champion in UFC history.

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Du Plessis claims he would have ‘Manhandled’ Adesanya in potential clash

Speaking of Adesanay’s hiatus during an appearance on Submission Radio, Dricus Du Plessis suggested that ‘The Last Stylebender’ dodged a bullet by walking away for the time being.

“The Izzy fight is a fight where I honestly believe that I would’ve grabbed him and I would’ve manhandled him, to be honest,” Du Plessis said. I know he has good takedown defense, but I don’t think people understand the difference between myself and Israel Adesanya.

“If I would’ve grabbed him it would’ve been a very long night. Well, no, it wouldn’t have been a long night [laughs]. Obviously, his striking is good. There’s no way Israel Adesanya knocks me out,” (h/t MMA Knockout)

Instead, Du Plessis will meet newly minted middleweight champ Sean Strickland at UFC 297 in January.

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Should ‘Stillknocks’ come out on top, could we see Adesanya cut his vacation short to settle some unfinished business with the South African standout?