After scoring six straight wins inside the Octagon, Dricus Du Plessis will receive his first shot at UFC gold in 2024.
As announced by UFC CEO Dana White earlier this month, ‘Stillknocks’ will be the first man to challenge newly crowned middleweight world champion Sean Strickland when the two fighters headline UFC 297 on January 20.
Despite earning his shot with a sensational second-round knockout of Robert Whittaker at UFC 290, it appeared as though Di Plessis would be temporarily forced out of the title picture in favor of Khamzat Chimaev when ‘Borz’ scored a majority decision victory over late-notice replacement Kamaru Usman at UFC 294. Originally, Chimaev was scheduled to face Paulo Costa in what was advertised as a middleweight title eliminator.
Du Plessis Welcomes Potential Title Fight Against Khamzat Chimaev
However, Chimaev’s name reportedly never came up when booking UFC 297’s title fight. With that said, Dricus Du Plessis knows that if he manages to leave Toronto with the 185-pound crown, he’ll likely have the undefeated Chechen monster to contend with in his first defense.
“The UFC is probably going to want to do Khamzat,” Du Plessis said in an interview with James Lynch. “He’s a big draw, and they said if he won the fight against [Kamaru] Usman he’d get a title shot. That’s a fight I would gladly accept as champion, take out the boogeyman, it would be a massive pleasure”.
Du Plessis is also quite confident in his ability to solve the puzzle that Chimaev presents inside the Octagon.
“He’d try to take me down, and he should,” Du Plessis said when asked how a fight with Khamzat would go. “I don’t think [Chimaev] realizes the power difference between 170 and 185. In terms of style, he tries to outpower everybody he fights, because he wants to show how strong he is. If he fights me and he fights that way, he’s going to find out what strength really feels like” (h/t MMA Mania).