Dricus du Plessis denies Israel Adesanya sparring story: ‘We did not do a single round of striking together’

Dricus du Plessis denies striking with Israel Adesanya while sparring UFC

Ahead of his pivotal championship-eliminator next month on the main card of UFC 290 next month, Dricus du Plessis has denied claims he was on the underhand of striking exchanges with current champion, Israel Adesanya – during a host of prior sparring sessions.

du Plessis, the current number four ranked middleweight contender, is slated to feature on the main card of UFC 290 next month during International Fight Week – taking on former titleholder and soon-to-be common-foe, Robert Whittaker in an official title eliminator clash.

In the midst of a five fight winning run since his UFC landing, in two recent victories, South African finisher, Dricus du Plessis submitted former welterweight title challenger, Darren Till, before defeating perennial contender, Derek Brunson at UFC 285 back in March.

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And off the back of his stunning second round KO win over Brazilian rival, Alex Pereira in his championship reclamation win, Adesanya called for an immediate title defense with Pethora native, du Plessis. 

Offering to fight the latter later this year in preference of a trilogy with Whittaker, Adesanya claimed the South African was dominated by him in prior sparring matches.

“So, you know what’s funny? What’s funny to me – I remember this, we actually sparred,” Israel Adesanya said. “We actually sparred. Hey, sparring is sparring. Alsjo you know what, I’m coming from China. I was doing kickboxing over there, I had no MMA, nothing. I was just kickboxing. I had MMA already, but it wasn’t sharp. It was blunt. My Jiu-Jitsu was blunt, very blunt.”

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“So, we’re sparring – I don’t know if we did two rounds or one, it’s so long ago as well,” Israel Adesanya explained. “This is 2014, so, long ago. I remember like on the grappling he had me. But on striking, I just messed him up.”

Dricus du Plessis denies ever striking with Israel Adesanya while sparring

However, according to du Plessis, the contender claimed they never actually shared any standup rounds against each other in the past.

“Yeah, we trained in Thailand together,” Dricus du Plessis said during an interview with The Schmo. “He had quite a record in MMA already back then. I was 3-0, I think, when we trained together. He said I beat him in the grappling exchanges – he is one hundred percent correct in that. I did manhandle him in the grappling and wrestling exchanges.”

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“But we did not do a single round of striking together, not one,” Dricus du Plessis explained. “That was his way of saving himself, saying, ‘No, but I beat him in the striking.’ We never did striking together. When we sparred, we grappled and we wrestled. We never did one single round of striking together, not as far as I know and that’s something you would remember.” (Transcribed by MMA News)